The Election Commission on Thursday urged the electronic media to help carry out its campaign to motivate possible voters, especially women, to get enrolled during the ongoing voter list updating programme.
EC Secretary Md Sirazul Islam made the call at a views-exchange meeting with senior journalists from radio and television channels at the EC Secretariat in the afternoon.
“We request you to extensively air our news and TV spots (advertisement) free on the voter list updating programme to motivate the possible voters, particularly women, to get enrolled. You can air these out of your corporate social responsibility (CSR) in public interest,” he said.
Admitting that there was a slight decline in the share of fresh female voters registered last year, the EC secretary said the gap between the share of females and males is insignificant compared to the country’s total voters.
He said the commission is trying its best to motivate women to get registered as voters during the ongoing countrywide updating exercise that began on July 25 last.
Though the data of under-age possible voters is being collected, there is no scope for them to enter the voter list until they exceed 18 years as the software of the EC server would prevent it, he assured.
At the views-exchange programme, the media people suggested the commission to strengthen the grassroots campaign and hold regular briefings over the progress of the programmes with a view to spreading the news of the voter list updating among people.
Z E Mamum, Chief Executive Editor of ATN Bangla said, “The commission needs to emphasise campaign at the grassroots. Now it strongly emphasises the central campaign, not the grassroots one.”
Sheikh Nazrul Islam, Planning Editor of Baishakhi Television, said the commission can ask the imams of mosques to make announcement through loudspeakers over the voter list updating programme. The EC also can conduct campaign in markets, schools and colleges, he added.
As part of the campaign to encourage people to get enrolled as voters during the programme, the Election Commission has already prepared posters, leaflets, banners and TV spots, the EC Secretary said.
Enumerators will collect data of Bangladeshi citizens born on or before January 1, 2000 throughout the country till September 22 this year, he said.
Of them, only those who were born on or before January 1, 1998 will be registered as voters in 2016, while the remaining nationals in 2017 and 2018, he added.
As part of three-phase data collection, the data is now being collected in 189 upazilas/thanas from July 25 to August 9 in the first phase. The data will also be collected in 184 other upazilas/thanas from August 16 to 30 in the second phase and 141 upazilas/thanas from September 7 to 22 in the third phase.
The EC will publish the updated voter list on January 31 next.