MISA-Mozambique Urges Journalists To Desist From Engaging In Party Politics

misazimMISA-Mozambique issued a statement on 15 September 2009, calling on reporters and editors of various media houses who are working in the electoral offices of political parties to clarify their situation urgently. MISA-Mozambique stressed that the responsibility of journalists during the current election campaign is to provide truthful information to their readers, view

A code of conduct for electoral coverage, approved by editors of almost all the Mozambican media, stresses that journalists must act with independence, impartiality, objectivity and respect for human dignity. They should also respect the principle of equality of treatment for candidates, and show respect for ethical standards in the search for electoral information.

But MISA-Mozambique stressed that it knows of the existence of journalists, some of them in the public sector media, who are crassly violating some of the fundamental and noble values of the profession. In particular there are journalists who are advising or collaborating with the electoral offices of political parties, without suspending their normal professional activity in the media.

In our opinion journalists who behave like this are seriously violating basic principles of the profession, reflected in the Code of Conduct for Electoral Coverage, particularly those concerning impartiality, and equality of treatment and opportunity for candidates, stressed MISA-Mozambique.

Impartiality, MISA added, meant that journalists should be equidistant from the interests of candidates and political parties, and should refrain from accepting functions, tasks and benefits liable to limit their impartiality. The chapter insisted that all journalists who are advising political parties should ensure that their situation is clarified as soon as possible, and editors should not to allow such conflicts of interest to persist in their newsrooms.

The statement is part of MISA-Mozambiques efforts to monitor the media coverage of the election so that it will be able to publish a detailed report about how the newspapers, radio stations and television channels have covered the elections.

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