YPC Weekly Newsletter

2003


PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS-2003: RULES FOR MEDIA

On April 21 the official election campaign of candidates for seats at the RA National Assembly to last up to May 23 (the elections themselves are scheduled for May 25, 2003). Similarly to the campaign for RA presidency, the legislation compels the private and public broadcasters as well as the official press to provide equal conditions to the candidates running for seats at the RA NA by proportion and majority systems. Equal space with an identical tariff to each party/bloc or a majority candidate must be allocated by all the print editions, except the partisan press.
Meanwhile, the Procedure for pre-election promotion in the media by the candidates for NA seats, developed by the Central Electoral Commission, still contain the provisions that caused the discontent of the journalistic community during the presidential elections. In particular, the parties/party blocs cannot provide to other parties/party blocs the free and paid airtime allocated not only by the public but also the private broadcasters. And the newspapers, regardless their status, must announce the promotional piece of a party/bloc on the first page.
According to the resolution of the CEC, the free and paid airtime for pre-election promotion at the Public Television of Armenia is provided every evening from 18.00 till 20.30. At the same time the promotional materials are broadcast by the PTA satellite. At the Public Radio of Armenia the free airtime is allocated every day from 14.05 to 16.00, and the paid airtime – from 21.40 to 24.00. Each party/party bloc registered by proportional ballot lists is entitled to 60 minutes of free and 120 paid airtime of the Public TV. The quote of the free air time makes 120 minutes at the Public Radio, the paid air time being 180 minutes. The succession for the air time use by the parties/party blocs is determined by schedules made up after sortition.
According to the Chairman of the Council of the Public TV and Radio Company Alexan Harutiunian, the minute of paid political advertising on Public TV will be priced the same as during the presidential elections – 0. The cost of the Public Radio air will probably be less than – the price applied during the previous election campaign.
The CEC resolution prohibits the journalists and the employees of the public service broadcasting, registered as candidates, from engaging in pre-election promotion. The NA candidates also do not have a right to host authorship or other programs on the air of public and private TV and radio companies.
The activities of the state-owned press are also regulated during the pre-election campaign: "Hayastani Hanrapetutiun" and "Respublika Armenia" newspapers must allocate each party/bloc a space of 0.25 quire for free publication of promotional materials.