Kathmandu, Feb 23: The Election Commission (EC) has approved and implemented the 'Policy on the Use of Social Networking Sites in Election Management, 2021'.
The new policy has been brought with the objective of maintaining an integrated and appropriate policy arrangement related to the use of social media in all processes and stages of the election, the EC has stated.
EC spokesperson Raj Kumar Shrestha said the policy will contribute towards transforming the process and method of information flow in election management as per the characteristic of the social networking sites as well as towards managing the challenges that might come up in the election, through the utilisation of the opportunities and possibility created by the social media in the use of information technology.
The EC has claimed that an opportunity has been created to disseminate the election-related information and messages, the voter education-related materials, the EC activities of all stages and processes in a prompt, cost-effective and efficient manner in the context of the growing attraction of people of all classes, sexes, communities and age groups in society towards the social media.
It has also expected that the policy would be helpful in making the election free, fair, impartial, credible and economical in the coming days, while coordinating and collaborating with the election stakeholders working in the sectors of information technology and social networking sites.
With the implementation of the policy, it is believed that all the activities and programmes of the Commission would be rendered transparent, disseminated promptly and in an easy manner to the target group and other stakeholders through social sites, a two-way communication would be promoted by enhancing the coordination and collaboration through an easy and efficient access to the stakeholders to election and voter education by means of the social media. Similarly, the election and voter education-related materials would be easily available to the targeted groups including the youths, women, inclusive groups and people with disability.
The policy was brought into practice bearing in mind the possibility of causing negative implications on the election through the posting and spreading of fake information, misinformation and distorted information as well as by delivering malicious expression through the use of social network forum and of external meddling during electoral period by the use of social sites.
It aims to utilize the opportunity given by the social sites and minimize the possible threat to election through the use of social media.
Constitutional and legal provision, the 15th five-year plan, EC's third strategic plan, learning and achievements were the bases of the policy, the EC said. 'Systematic, decent and credible social sites' is the vision of the policy and its objective is to systematize the use of social sites for the election fairness.
Making the use of social network and regulation effective, rendering the election related information trustworthy, quality, frugal and accessible are the objectives of the policy, which has also target to make the use of social networking sites safe, systematic, reliable, disciplined and accessible for the free and fair election.
The Commission's information, activities and election education materials would be made available to the general public through social network, which would facilitate multilateral coordination and cooperation in the use of social network for enhancing easy access and credibility of elections.
Six strategies have been outlined in the policy and 30 action plans have been determined under the strategies.
A Steering Committee and an Implementation Committee has been managed for the implementation of the policy. Likewise, the activities, duties and rights of such committees have been described.