Journalists and academics have formed a new body to monitor the media's election coverage. The initiative by the Hong Kong Journalists Association is similar to existing official monitoring by the Electoral Affairs Commission. However, association chairman Carol Lai Pui-yee said the new panel could do more. She said it would constantly monitor coverage while the commission only acted on complaints. Members were also 'more independent' and professional in judging malpractice. Monitoring by the five-member independent panel would be guided by the commission's guidelines, international standards and professional ethics, Ms Lai said. Any unfair treatment by the media, candidates or political parties would be publicised. The panel could then ask those concerned to rectify the situation, retract offending statements or offer a right of reply to the injured party, she said. Complaints may be referred to the commission or the Broadcasting Authority for further action. The panel will also compile a report for evaluation by the Government on the effectiveness of the electoral commission's media guidelines, the overall coverage of the election and official publicity. Ms Lai denied monitoring the commission's work, but side-stepped a question on whether the moves were tantamount to imposing more rules on the candidates and the media. 'The objective is [to discover] whether the parties concerned follow the principles of fair elections,' Ms Lai said. The Registration and Electoral Office is handling six complaints against allegedly unfair or unequal treatment by the media. The office would write to the media outlets concerned for further details, although no action had yet been taken, a government spokesman said.