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Regulating Election Campaigns in Cyberspace

Posted February. 14, 2007 07:57,   


The National Election Commission (NEC) announced yesterday that it will revise its election law so that any campaign–related material about particular candidates or parties can be freely uploaded on the internet both in legal campaign periods and odd times.

According to the plan, anyone can appeal for or against a particular candidate by uploading User Created Content (UCC) such as video footage or postings in cyberspace in elections, including presidential elections, which practically allows internet electioneering at all times.

If the revision actually comes to pass, campaigns in cyberspace are expected to heat up as the law would allow electioneering even before November 27, when the legal campaign period officially kicks off.

The commission made the decision at Monday’s general meeting and is set to join the National Assembly in revision of the election law.

However, the NEC said it would not make a new motion as it said it already submitted the same bill to the National Assembly in 2003.

Currently, postings or video clips containing simple ideas about particular candidates or parties are allowed online prior to the campaign period. However, those considered to be attempts to influence elections through repeated postings on portal sites could face punishment.

An NEC official said, “We made the decision because we believe voters’ freedom of expression should be broadly guaranteed and internet campaigns do not cost much. However, slander or defamation will be banned.”