The Election Commission has called for zero tolerance towards disinformation, misinformation and hate speech in elections. The call has been made by the EC as per the Election Code of Conduct, 2079 issued for the election of House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly members to be held on November 20.
In order to ensure that the right to freedom of expression granted by the Constitution is fully utilized during the election, the EC has implemented the 'Policy on the Use of Social Media, 2077'. This policy has been introduced with the aim that the common voters are able to make informed and prudent decisions through voting. Embracing this sentiment, in the Election Code of Conduct, 2079, the Commission has provided that parties, candidates and general voters can make political advertisements on social media and use them for publicity purposes, says a statement issued by the Commission.
However, misinformation, disinformation and hate speech spread for vested political interests through social media and online means against any party or candidate and with the aim of adversely affecting the election does not fall within the scope of freedom of expression.
Disinformation, misinformation and hate speech during the election period can undermine the freedom of expression granted by the constitution and the right of the voters to be informed. Disinformation, misinformation and hate speech may polarize the election debate, create animosity among the voters, create unnecessary conflict in the society during the election, and the common voter may be deprived of exercising his or her right to vote in a peaceful environment.
Hence, the Commission has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards disinformation, misinformation and hate speech. Keeping in view the challenges that can be posed to elections, a mechanism set up in the commission has also been cooperating with related social media companies for social media regulation, adds the statement.(RSS)