On March 16 National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR) released the methodology on monitoring the ensuring by Armenian TV and radio companies of equal conditions for candidates and parties/blocs running in the election to RA National Assembly by majoritarian or proportional systems. The NCTR monitoring is implemented in compliance with RA Electoral Code. Results of the monitoring and NCTR conclusions are to be published and presented to the Central Electoral Commission on the 10th and 20th days of pre-election promotion (e.g. on April 17 and 27, 2012), as well as two days before of the announcement of the official ballot results (before May 11, 2012).
The methodology particularly envisages a scanning of the TV and radio programs, study of information provided by broadcasters, received from candidates/parties (blocs), state bodies, public and international organizations, as well as analysis of media pieces on electoral legislation violations by broadcasters.
During the monitoring of paid and free airtime, allocated to candidates/parties (blocs) for pre-election promotion, NCTR will asses: the invariability of tariffs, announced by broadcasters for political advertising, throughout the whole official campaign; broadcasters’ compliance with the non-discrimination principle while allocating air and time for broadcasting promotional materials of candidates/parties (blocs); lawfulness of justifications for airtime denial of broadcasting promotional materials.
NCTR will also track the broadcasters’ compliance with other legislative provisions:
— the ban imposed on employees of TV and radio companies, registered as MP candidates, to cover the electoral campaign or host any program;
— the obligation of unbiased and factual reporting on promotional events, as well as the requirement to respect the principles of equality and non-discrimination towards all candidates/parties (blocs) at all news and current affair programs;
— during the pre-election promotion, while reporting on the activities of candidates’, who hold political, discretionary, civil offices, respect the provisions of Article 22 of RA Electoral Code that oblige these candidates not to use the office to their advantage;
— providing equal conditions for airtime allotment to all candidates/parties (blocs);
— ensuring journalistic impartiality at programs hosting candidates/parties (blocs), or their representatives;
— the presence of promotional elements (reference to candidates/parties (blocs), their activities, pre-election platforms, calls on voting “for” or “against”, etc.), as well as demonstration of parties’ slogans and symbols at programs not covering the elections (films, video clips, audio tapes, commercial advertising, etc.);
— the compliance with legislative requirements while publishing/releasing survey results on candidates/parties(blocs) ratings, including with the ban on releasing exit poll results before the closure of electoral precincts;
— the prohibition of broadcasting promotional materials on the ballot day and the day preceding it;
The full version of NCTR monitoring methodology is available in Armenian at www.tvradio.am.