The Chairman of the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour Dr Bishnu Ragoonath has revealed that many political parties and candidates have violated the codes of ethical-political conduct in the recently concluded general election campaign.
Speaking on CNC3’s Morning Segment of the Battle For Whitehall, Ragonath said: “Clearly there were some violations to the code. Not every political party, not every candidate maintained the code the way we wanted it to.”
The code of ethical-political conduct lists several prohibited areas and the council was engaged in monitoring whether some of the parties were abiding by it.
Some of these items include not making false or defamatory allegations in print or speech in connection with an election in respect of a party, its candidates, representatives or members and not seeking to assassinate the character of or make defamatory comments about any individual, family, professional group or section of the community.
However, Ragoonath this was a particularly hard election to monitor and evaluate adherence to the code. He said that this issue arose because there were many social media postings – all of which could not have been monitored by the council.
Ragoonath added: “Then there is that other issue as to who is posting, and who is that person or persons representing when they make their respective posts.” This, according to the council Chairman, created a series of challenges for the council to monitor.
The political scientist said: “But on the whole, we would say that there were several violations.” He continued: “What we had hoped is that people would not have become personal in the context of mudslinging, in the context of attacking personalities but rather to treat with the issues and the policies and so forth of the respective parties and candidates.”
Nonetheless, Ragoonath said that there were instances when people got personal and the council thought, “that was bad”.
Regarding advertising, Ragoonath indicated that medium is going to become a critical issue not only on the part of the political candidate or party but it also involves those who were designing ads. He said that people expressed sentiments that some of the advertisements were not in keeping with good ethical behaviour.
Ragoonath added that some of the concerns the council had coming into the election still persist, and it suspects that these concerns will continue even into the post-campaign.