A team from the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) is in Seychelles in relation to the National Assembly election which will take place on September 8, 9 and 10, 2016.
Yesterday, the SEAC mission had a meeting with representatives of the media in Seychelles – print, television and radio.
The meeting, which was attended by journalists from the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), Today in Seychelles and Seychelles NATION newspapers, took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport’s head office at the Maison Quéau de Quinssy.
The SEAC team comprise Judge John Billy Tendwa, Professor Gerhard Tötemeyer, Dr Mavis N. Matenge and M. Elijah Munyuki.
Professor Tötemeyer noted that they were here for the presidential election last December and that they now have a bit of background from last time so that they can compare.
“Your election will be very interesting. You constitution promotes democracy. I read carefully the court judgment on the objections by the opposition candidate with regard to last year’s presidential election. Democracy is alive in your country,” he said.
He said while here they will operate within the framework ‘SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections’, approved by all the 15 member countries.
“We are consultants not observers. We are one big family. We are ready for advice. We are here to have a constructive discussion with all electoral stakeholders, also the press and media,” said Professor Tötemeyer.
The SEAC mission had several questions for the media such as : What kind of contributions radio, television and newspapers make towards voters education? What about the objectivity of reporting? Are the people ready to exercise their democratic right to vote and did you (the media) urge them to go to the voting station? Do public media respect the times allocated to political parties? How much time do they have? What about the code of conduct for election media communication? Place given for voters’ education and civic duties in the media? What about the voice of the people? Certain media are polarised for certain groups or candidates? Do you have freedom of speech and are you free by your rights? Are you free, all of you?
Each media representative answered for his/her house and the discussions that followed turned out to be a fruitful debate and exchanges.
The team were told that the media in Seychelles have different ways of working, are different organisations and have different financing plans.
Each of them is aware of its role and responsibilities with regard to informing the population.
It was agreed that Seychelles, as a small island with specific socio-economic issues, needs to have more voters’ education.
Source : Seychelles NATION