A two-day training on quantitative and qualitative media reporting techniques was offered to our Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) with the technical assistance of European Center for Electoral Support (ECES).

During election times, Media monitoring can measure the amount of coverage of electoral subjects, the presence or absence of news bias, appropriateness of media access for political competitors and the adequacy of information conveyed to voters through news, direct political messages, public information programming and voter education announcements.

Media monitoring can help demonstrate that political competitors and the public at large should have confidence in the media, electoral authorities and the government that is responsible for providing genuine elections. Shortcomings in media conduct can be identified through monitoring in time for corrective action. Abuse of the mass media’s power to affect voter choices also can be documented, which allows the population and other stakeholders to appropriately characterize the true nature of the electoral process.

As part of its voter education initiative , our MMU has been compiling, analyzing and sharing its press reviews and reports to many key actors involved in the electoral process on a regular basis.

A consortium of 176 locally established Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) revealed that they are prepared to deploy over 3,000 election observers in the upcoming general election slated for June 21, 2021.

Earlier this week, the Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations for Election (CECOE) organized a consultative meeting with stakeholders on the role of CSOs in areas of election related conflicts.

Beniam Abate, CECOE election observers’ coordinator, told The Reporter that, of the total 50,000 polling stations across the nation, the Coalition is planning to cover at least 5000 polling stations by dispatching its 3000 election observers.

Even though the Coalition planned to observe the process of the election starting from candidate registration, he explained, delays in receiving observer’s accreditation and badge from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), have hindered its plans.

According to the NEBE, more than 134,100 local observers will be deployed to observe the upcoming general election.

Atleast 47 political parties and 125 independent candidates are vying for seats in the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) and regional councils. Of the 50 million projected voters, the Board announced last week that around 37 million voters have registered to vote so far.

The Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations for Election (CECOE), an initiative that was launched in early 2020, was established with the objective of providing civic and voter education, election monitoring, observation, advocacy and stakeholder’s participation and research and capacity building.

Meanwhile, Sources close to The Reporter indicated that the African Union (AU) will deploy around 60 election observers. It is to be recalled that the European Union (EU), which revealed it has cancelled its plans to send election observers, has now agreed to send a team of experts.

Similarly, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) Pre-Election Observation Assessment was conducted in late April 2021 and the delegation released their assessment results late last week.

The report by the NDI and IRI indicated the need for a serious and concerted effort by all stakeholders prior to Election Day, noting the necessity to hold
meaningful elections and laying the groundwork for national reconciliation and democratic progress beyond the elections.

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