Election posters all around the country

The era of police action against posters over

by Rajitha Keerthi Tennakoon

(January 18, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Several well off candidates have already begun election propaganda by using hoardings and posters which will have an adverse effect on the environment notes the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE.)

After the date for the nominations was declared several candidates have began a massive propaganda campaign. These candidates feel that this is the best way to win in an election which will be held under Proportional Representation and preferential vote system. However these wo/men have no consideration of how their actions will impact the environment.

There are no regulations in Sri Lanka to stop the pasting of posters and since the nomination period has not ended election laws also do not apply to the present situation.

However in the last six months the Police continued to harass opposition political party activists who pasted posters using an obsolete provision in the penal code. Many were arrested and presented to courts using provisions from the national thoroughfares act and environmental acts. There were also reports that even people who had been pasting posters announcing dramas, funerals and other non political activities.

However this has changed after the election was declared. The police do not seem to take any action against these politicians who are pasting thousands of posters. Due to the massive scale of the operation this causes more environmental damage than the activities carried out by those arrested and harassed in the last six months by police.

CaFFE notices that the police is giving preferential treatment to some politicians and this is a violation of a fundamental principal of a free and fair election, a level playing field. Therefore CaFFE requests the authorities to enforce the law equally to everyone and requests all candidates to be mindful of the environmental impact of their actions.

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