Announcement of the Media Council, independent journalists and non-governmental organizations concerning objective coverage of presidency election on the 5th of January, 2008

27 Jan, 2010

In order to ensure informed choice for all citizens throughout the election campaign, equal opportunities for each candidate and civil peace, The Media Council, independent journalists and representatives of civil society address Mass Media to take into consideration for objective and impartial coverage of presidency elections and post-election political events, the following points:

  1. All the key participants (presidency candidates) of the presidency elections selected by objective criteria or their representatives shall be provided with the equal time on TV channels during news coverage and political debates;
  2. If in case of relevant coverage of any event or part of a campaign, any candidate requires more time (e.g. publishing elections program, organizing a meeting or a demonstration by a candidate), maximum during a week other candidates shall be provided with the opportunity to use the same amount of time;
  3. During pre-election period Mass media shall refrain from covering material published by the government in the past, which is related to cooperation of some presidency candidates or their representatives with Russian special departments;
  4. All TV channels, journalist shall avoid coverage of unverified accusations, facts, rumours, especially in cases when this type of information provokes or encourages violence and riot;
  5. During the election campaign, beyond regular information sections and political debates, TV channel shall offer all the key candidates or their representatives , on equal terms, no less that three possibilities (three hours in total) for covering meetings with their electorate or other desirable activities;
  6. In case of spreading direct or implicit accusations against a candidate or his/her election team via TV, the accused party shall be given possibility to respond via the same TV channel as a rule, on the same TV program;
  7. All the candidates or their representatives shall be provided with the opportunity during the day to comment on current political events via basic information means on a daily basis;
  8. All the TV channels, to the possible extent, shall endeavor to apply prime and not the third source of information when repeating opinions of the presidency candidates or their team;
  9. While organizing discussions (talk shows), in case of inviting audience, measures shall be taken to maintain balance between the selected participants;
  10. During random questioning (vox populi) of citizens, balance/pluralism shall be maintained;
  11. Opinion polling (including exit poll) shall be covered in case if this study is carried out in compliance with the internationally recognized standards, scientifically reliable methods, observing transparency, disclosing identity of authors and financial sources. Expert discussions of study results are necessary via organizing pluralistic discussions;
  12. It is desirable that in case if there is a will of presidency candidates, an advisory council of the representatives of presidency candidates be set up at TV channels.