Local Elections 2003
Regulation Regarding the Coverage of the Local Electoral Campaign by the Audio-visual Institutions of the Republic of Moldova
28 March 2003
I. General provisions
1. The coverage of the electoral campaign for the election of local authorities in 2003 (henceforth referred to as "local elections") will be held according to the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the Electoral Code, the Law on the Audio-visual, this Regulation and other relevant normative acts.
2. The conception and production of programmes and news bulletins during the electoral period will be carried out by the audio-visual institutions according to the resolutions of the Central Electoral Commission and of the Co-ordinating Council of the Audio-visual.
3. The audio-visual institutions will be objective, will not influence the political message of contestants and will not allow pressure from anyone. They will promote transparency while producing electoral programmes and will inform the parties, non-governmental organisations, foreign observers and observers from international organisations covering the electoral campaign in the mass media about the electoral manifestos and their co-operation with the political parties and entities.
4. Before the start of the electoral campaign, the public and private audio-visual institutions will cover in their shows the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and of the Electoral Code, and will broadcast free of charge, compulsorily and in order of priority electoral advertisement spots and the information received from the Central Electoral Commission, which will be related exclusively to the organisation and holding of elections.
5. During the electoral campaign, the Central Electoral Commission and the Co-ordinating Council of the Audio-visual oversee to the respect of the pluralism of opinions and settle disputes among the electoral contestants related to air time and other issues falling under the competence of this Regulation, according to current laws.
6. All electoral shows, regardless of the channel and time of broadcast, will be differentiated through a single sound signal.
7. The records of electoral shows (related to elections and including live shows) will be kept for at least three months of the date of broadcast. Where disputes are being settled, records will be kept for longer upon a special resolution (ruling) of the Central Electoral Commission, the Co-ordinating Council of the Audio-visual or a court of justice.
8. Electoral contestants can start using their broadcast time once they are registered with the district electoral councils. Applications for airtime will be submitted to the Tele-radio Moldova Company within 48 hours of registration, and within 72 hours to other audio-visual institutions, for the entire electoral period. The broadcast time shall be provided to the electoral contestants within 12 hours of the submission of their applications and in the order of their application.
9. The representatives of the audio-visual institutions enjoy the same rights as accredited observers.
II. The presentation and contents of shows related to the electoral campaign
10. The Tele-radio Moldova Company will provide 4 minutes TV time and 8 minutes radio time, free of charge, to all parties, socio-political organisations and electoral blocs registered with the relevant district electoral councils as electoral contestants for councilors, and 2 minutes TV time and 4 minutes radio time to independent candidates running for councilors and to individuals running for mayors, for the entire electoral period. Local public channels will provide 10 minutes of TV time and 20 minutes of radio time to all parties, socio-political organisations and electoral blocs registered with the relevant district electoral councils as electoral contestants for councilors, and 5 and 10 minutes respectively to independent candidates running for councilors and to individuals running for mayors.
11. The broadcast time for paid electoral advertisement at public and private audio-visual institutions for the entire electoral campaign may not exceed 2 hours per electoral contestant, of which no more than two minutes can be broadcast daily on one audio-visual institution.
12. The private radio and TV channels will produce their electoral shows according to the same structure as the public ones. When scheduling their shows, overlaps with similar shows on other channels will be avoided. Electoral agitation will be made for a fee on public and private radio and TV channels on contractual basis. The fee for broadcast time provided to electoral contestants may not be higher than the fees usually charged for commercials.
13. The broadcast time will be used:
- To present the programmes of electoral contestants;
- For electoral agitation (reports of meetings, reunions, meeting with voters);
- To broadcast appeals, statements, other material of electoral contents, electoral publicity, which will be differentiated form other shows and always specifically announced as electoral publicity.
14. The radio and TV channels will announce electoral shows and shows featuring electoral contestants in due time (at least 24 hours in advance). These will be re-scheduled only in the event of technical deficiencies and will be broadcast in the state language. In the event of electoral contestants representing national minorities, whom they want to address in their shows, the former, their trustees or their liaison staff with the audio-visual institutions are free to choose the language of the show.
15. In their shows, the electoral contestants can express freely their views, but they must avoid:
- To contest the constitutional order;
- To libel the state;
- To call to war, ethnic hatred or territorial secessionism;
- To break public order, the security of people or material assets;
- To denigrate people’s honour;
- To use flags;
- To use purposefully for the interest of the party or electoral bloc, in the background, the national flag or the Moldovan State Anthem;
- To use in the background images of representative monuments and edifices from the national patrimony;
- To use documents involving Moldovan public figures, without their or their right-holders’ written approval.
16. The electoral contestants should refrain from making morally damaging statements about other parties, political formations or independent candidates.
17. A contestant’s statement is of electoral nature if it is not related to the public function he/she exercises during the electoral campaign.
18. Individuals involved in the electoral campaign and holding key offices in the state administration will give interviews and make statements related exclusively to their professional activity, and will avoid using the occasion for electoral propaganda.
19. The editors of public and private TV and radio news shows will be fair and unbiased in their comments with regard to the electoral campaign.
20. During debates, the producers and presenters of electoral shows will be neutral and impartial.
21. They will intervene whenever necessary to prevent libel and behaviour or statements likely to affect the openness of debates, and will formulate their questions as clearly and correctly as possible.
22. The public and private radio and TV channels, which will air radio-electronic broadcasts during the electoral campaign, will not present electoral contestants in their news shows.
23. The audio-visual institutions will not be liable for the contents of electoral contestants’ broadcasts. The contestants will be fully accountable for the contents of their broadcasts.
24. When archived audio-visual material is used during the broadcasts, the message "archive images" and the date of the film will be displayed on the screen. Such material can not be used if intended to present erroneously the electoral contestant or manipulate the original contents of the used material.
25. Electoral shows will be produced live or recorded within the allotted broadcast time on all days but Sundays and in accordance with the preferences of electoral contestants.
26. The refusal by an audio-visual institution to broadcast electoral shows during the allotted broadcast time may be contested in the Central Electoral Commission and in the Co-ordinating Council of the Audio-visual.
III. Final provisions
27. 10 days before the election date and on the election day, the audio-visual institutions will not make public results of opinion polls conducted among voters or on a representative sample and hinting to the expected election results.
28. On the day preceding the election day and on the election day, in their news bulletins all public and private radio and TV channels will only broadcast communiques from the Central Electoral Commission and the district electoral councils and information on how the voting goes.
29. It is forbidden to broadcast interviews with the voters prior to the opening of polling stations. On the election day, no information will be broadcast on the estimated number of votes received by various contestants and their chances, nor shows containing implicit or explicit electoral agitation.
30. The audio-visual institutions broadcasting electoral shows will keep special files with the broadcasts aired on the previous day.
31. The audio-visual institutions must keep evidence of the broadcast time provided to contestants and submit daily reports on the electoral airtime on the previous day to the Co-ordinating Council of the Audio-visual. They will accompany the written reports with video and audio samples where specifically required to do so by the Central Electoral Commission and the Co-ordinating Council of the Audio-visual.
32. The Central Electoral Commission will publish in the mass media this Regulation so that all electoral contestants can familiarise themselves with it. The Co-ordinating Council of the Audio-visual will distribute this Regulation to all public audio-visual institutions in Moldova.
33. The breach of this Regulation during the electoral campaign by the audio-visual institutions will be punished according to the current laws of the Republic of Moldova, including withdrawal of broadcasting licences.