Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has notified that all media houses should refrain from running any news stories on the National Council (NC) aspirants until the “Application for Election Campaign Fund” is released, Kuensel reports.
According to the report the Application for Election Campaign Fund will be released on March 20, following the scrutiny of nominations of candidates.
Head of the commission’s Department of Election, Sonam Tobgyal, said that the temporary suspension of news coverage was to ensure a level-playing field.
“Given the increased number of aspiring candidates, media cannot give coverage to all of them,” Sonam Tobgyal said.
According to Election Commission of Bhutan, there are 175 aspirants who have registered with ECB to date.
Sonam Tobgyal said as per the election regulation, once the election notification has been called, no news coverage on aspirants could be run. “Unfair story coverage might promote some aspirants.”
Releasing of campaign fund is basically a confirmation of nominee from respective gewogs, who will then contest in the election at the dzongkhag level.
Sonam Tobgyal said once the fund is released, the nominees may choose to familiarise themselves through the media.
Each nominee is entitled Nu 150,000 campaign fund. Only then, the media can also run stories on the nominees.
ECB has issued “Letter of Attestation” to 84 NC aspirants. This means the aspirants can file their nomination with the respective Returning Offices (RO).
The filing of nomination can be done with the commencement of the Gewog that will begin February 24 and go on until March 19.