The President of the Graon Mo Jastis Pati (GJP), Ralph Regenvanu, is calling on all local and foreign media organizations to be cautious in reporting speculative statements by politicians on which political parties, groups or candidates will group together to form the new government.
He said that it is a common strategy at times such as this for politicians to try and influence elected candidates to join one side or the other with false statements about how blocs are being formed and how many numbers of elected candidates are in such blocs. The “unfiltered” reporting by the media of such politically motivated, speculative and often deliberately false comments can be misleading for the general public and often negatively affect a considered approach to coalition building by political parties.
“There is still conflicting information regarding the unofficial results in some if not many constituencies at this stage. Until all information pertaining to the snap general elections results are fully verified, counted and officially declared by the Electoral Commission, all local and foreign media organizations should take a cautious approach in their reporting, especially as to which parties or groupings would form the new Government.
“A classic example is the recent SANMA Provincial Elections, when certain media organizations prominently reported a member of the caretaker government claiming that the parties in the caretaker government had already signed an MOU between the majority of newly-elected councilors to form the new Sanma provincial government. A few days later, that story was proven to be completely false when the new President of the SANMA Provincial Council was elected with a landslide vote in favour of the GJP Councilor John Aru. In the event, local media organizations had misled the general public by not attempting to verify or cross-check what the politician in question had said but rather reported it as of it were true.”
GJP President Ralph Regenvanu, who is also on the top six winning candidate unofficial list for Port Vila 6 Seats Constituency, is asking local and foreign media organizations to try their best to get comments from all the political groupings before running any news stories or, better still, to refrain from speculating on how the new government will be formed and leave it to the politicians themselves to decide through considered negotiations as to which political parties and groupings will form the new government tomorrow.