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Election Commission Pakistan’s ban on political surveys is not recent

Misleading information regarding the ban portrays it as a recent decision

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Claim: Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) has imposed a ban on political surveys & opinion polls just ahead of general elections scheduled on 8 February 2024.

Fact: ECP’s ban on political surveys is not recent. 

According to clause 12 of the ECP’s Code of Conduct for National Media, organisations and media persons are prohibited from entrance and exit polls or conducting any kind of surveys at any polling stations or constituencies which may influence the voters’ free choice of casting a vote or hinder the process in any way. This was instituted through an order on 13 October 2023.

On 2 January 2024 X account @SouthAsiaIndex published a tweet claiming the ECP has imposed a ban on surveys and opinion polls just of the general elections scheduled on 8 February. 

Fact or Fiction?

The Election Commission of Pakistan issued a Code of Conduct for National Media on 13 October 2023. The notification clarifies that this code is to be followed for the upcoming general elections, local government elections and the by-elections “in letter and spirit”. 

Clause 12 of this code says: “Print & Electronic media and any journalist, newspaper, and channel on their official accounts on digital media, and other social media influencers shall refrain from entrance and exit polls or conducting any kind of surveys at any polling station or constituency which may influence the voters’ free choice of casting vote or hinder the process in any way.” The document was signed by Additional Director General Media Coordination & Outreach Wing Haroon Khan Shinwari. 

However, it must be noted that the ECP issued a notification recently, asking PEMRA to follow up on the violation of the Code of Conduct for National Media. This report, published by Dawn on 1 January 2024, claims that the ECP wrote a letter to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) seeking  “prompt and immediate action” against media channels violating the code of conduct for the February 8 polls. This was corroborated by SAMAA News, Express Tribune and Pakistan Today

Therefore, we conclude that ECP’s recent notification did not impose a ban on election polls and political surveys but asked PEMRA to follow up on the violation of the Code of Conduct for National Media which was already in October 2023.

The claim was also fact-checked by HUM News English here.

Virality

The tweet received 98,200 views and more than 4000 interactions on X.

On Facebook, the claim was shared here, and here.

Conclusion: The ECP did not recently ban election surveys and political polls. 

Background image in cover photo: Al Jazeera 

To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com 

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