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Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, chairman of the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour.

The Council for Responsible Political Behaviour has called for the support from citizens to successfully monitor the activities and conduct of political parties during the run-up to the general election as it launches a public education drive.

In a release from the council on July 1 said “While the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour is tasked with monitoring and evaluating political parties, candidates and supporters in their adherence to the Code of Ethical Political Conduct, the pursuit of such monitoring can only be successful with the support of the citizenry.

“To this end, the council has embarked upon a public education drive about the Code of Ethical Political Conduct. The print media has agreed to publish the code. Likewise, the members of the council will participate in various programmes in the electronic media as it seeks to alert the population of acceptable ethical conduct for a political campaign.

“COVID-19 restrictions will impact on the manner of campaigning in elections 2020. The media, inclusive of social media, will be central in getting political messages across. The Council has been monitoring the daily newspapers, and various reports of statements made both in and out of the Parliament have already raised red flags as to possible violations of the Code.”

The Prohibited Conduct section of the Code thus speaks to the following:

*Not make false or defamatory allegations in print or speech in connection with an election in respect of a Party, its Candidates, representatives or members

*Not seek to assassinate the character of or make defamatory comments about any individual, family, professional group or section of the community.

*Not abuse a position of power, privilege or influence, including parental, patriarchal, traditional or employment authority to influence the conduct or outcome of an election.

*Not permit the use and abuse of State resources for political campaigns.

*Not indulge in negative campaigning or advertising or any action which would bring the political process into disrepute.

*Not criticize aspects of the private lives of Candidates, their families, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or Candidates of other Parties.

*Not issue advertisements or other marketing material the cost of which is borne out of public funds.

While the Council monitors the newspapers, it is challenged in effectively monitoring the electronic media and more critically social media, wherein claims of violations of the code seem most rampant.

Members of the public are invited to visit the council’s website at www.politicalethicstt.org to view the code it its entirety. Reports of possible violations of the code can be emailed to the council at [email protected]