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Public Service Broadcaster Lists Ten Commandments for Journalists during Elections  

June 24 – The editorial board of UA:PBC issued recommendations for media coverage of the upcoming parliamentary elections, called the “10 Commandments of the Public Broadcaster for the Current Elections.” A meeting to develop the list was held on June 24 at UA:PBC’s Zaporizhzhia branch with the support of the Council of Europe.

According to Detector Media, UA:PBC editorial board head Olha Vakalo said the aim of the meeting was to develop recommendations and a long-term strategy for a mechanism of cooperation among the pubic broadcaster’s branches.

The “10 Commandments of Public Broadcaster for the Current Elections” are:

1. Speak up, don’t be quiet!

Journalists should take into account the recommendations of independent monitoring experts to more actively cover complicated processes, including elections, not only in the news, but also in the political talk show “Election District: Interview,” set to air on regional UA:PBC stations from July 1 to 19, 2019, in advance of the July 21 parliamentary elections;

2. Process, not just personalities

The journalists should pay attention to how the voting rights of citizens are ensured, especially for vulnerable citizens, during the pre-term election campaign;

3. Calendar plan of the Central Election Committee (CEC)

Journalists should monitor the implementation of the CEC calendar plan and inform people about any violations that may occur;

4. Inform, don’t agitate

Journalists should be responsible for quality media coverage and should not be engaged in agitation through their coverage;

5. Election period dress code

Journalists are not allowed to wear political symbols during the news and other programs broadcast before election day on July 21;

6. Expert Neutrality

If the regions lack independent experts, journalists should ensure balance by avoiding “experts-antagonists” [commentators with a biased view towards a particular political party] or by getting comments from analysts in other regions or the capital Kyiv. If the expert is involved in campaigning, he/she may be invited as an exception and only if their exclusive competence is well-established;

7. Quality standard is our standard of quality 

UA:PBC journalists should demonstrate to other media sector players the standard for quality content production, in contrast to the biased editorial policies of private TV channels. Journalists should pay extra attention to UA:PBC’s “Editorial Statute” requirements for content production and dissemination;

8. New – Old faces

Journalists should ensure that in covering candidates’ platforms that they include the candidate’s background, and an analysis of the candidate’s election promises, values and priorities;

9. “Human” language 

Journalists should report about complicated, confusing and important subjects in a clear, precise and accessible way; and

10. Report responsibly about violations

Before an election violation is proven in court, journalists should use the phrase “a case with the qualities of a violation.” Full reports should be produced on these violations, which may include bribing voters, illegal agitation, and improper use of administrative resources, etc.

Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

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