EC revamp, media bias among problems to solve, says new report on GE14

Print and broadcast media were guilty of one-sided coverage during the last election campaign, says a report released today. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Biased coverage of media linked to political parties and the integrity of the Election Commission (EC) is among the focus of a new report released by three organisations, detailing abuses and weaknesses in the handling of the recent general election.

The 112-page report by electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0, Pusat Komas and Suaram said the current members of the EC should be removed, saying their appoinments should go through a public process that included a nomination committee.

It said the body should also be made accountable to Parliament, and report to a parliamentary committee.

The report said ownership of media outlets should also be made public, especially if they received funding from those linked to political parties.

It urged the authorities to implement this within a year, saying media ownership played a big role in the May 9 polls, adding that dailies such as The Star and Utusan Malaysia were slanted towards Barisan Nasional (BN).

It said public television and radio stations also remained under tight control of the ruling government, giving BN “overwhelmingly positive coverage”.

In contrast, the report said online media that focused on the 1MDB scandal faced harassment and intimidation.

It also said the 14th general election saw political parties guilty of promoting sensitive issues that could affect racial harmony.

The report urged the National Registration Department to conduct a thorough audit of its database to ensure accurate information, to ensure no non-citizen could take part in the electoral process.

The report would be distributed to MPs as Dewan Rakyat convenes for the first time after the general election next week.