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No Capslock Allowed: Ecuador Has Online Conduct Code for Election Banter

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, December 18 2012

Screengrab of the National Electoral Council's election portal, Voto transparente, Conoce a Tu Candidato

Ecuador is gearing up for national elections in February with an online portal aimed at giving voters transparency in their process of choosing a candidate. Voto transparente, Conoce a Tu Candidato (“Transparent Voting: Know Your Candidate”) provides voter registration information, along with profiles of all candidates for office, including those running on the presidential ticket, as well as delegates to parliament, the national assembly, and regional assemblies. In addition, it also codifies 14 guidelines for conduct on social media during election season.

The Manual de Covivencia, or Manual of Coexistence, as the code of conduct is called, was presented on Sunday by CNE, the National Electoral Council, in response to the presidential debate held last week. Among its recommendations for Ecuadorian netizens are:

Help maintain a healthy and informative environment for public debate.

Share your knowledge with the community.

Be tolerant of people whose opinions you do not share.

If you write everything in capital letters, people will think you are shouting.

The Internet has played a significant role in this election cycle, with many candidates taking to social networks to promote their campaigns; the CNE, which places limits on televised political ads, has no such restrictions on the web. It has been suggested that CNE policies on traditional avenues of election advertising favor incumbent president Rafael Correa, who currently holds a strong lead in the polls. Online promotion could level the playing field for seven challenging presidential tickets.

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