Examples of Laws Governing Media and the Pre-EIection Campaign
Title of Law
Examples of Articles with Specific Relevance to Media and the Pre-EIection Campaigns
Federal Law on Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights for the Citizens of the Russian Federation
Article 22, Para.1:
Candidates employed by mass media to released from Office
Rights of all citizens and electoral associations to pre-election campaigning, and to campaign for or against candidates; electoral associations and candidates guaranteed equal access to mass media; description of campaign activities;
candidates and electoral associations are independent in determining form and nature of campaigns in mass media; members of electoral committees, bodies of state and local self-governing bodies not entitled to participate in pre-election campaigning.
Candidates and electoral associations entitled to free air time on the state and municipal radio and television within territories of relevant electoral districts; by agreement may pay for additional time on state radio and television network;
fees for paid air time shall be equal for each candidate or electoral association;
CEC coordinates with state bodies in charge of securing rights and freedoms in mass media to issue instructions for granting time; mass media promoted or co-promoted or funded by state or municipal bodies, organizations, institutions, etc. obliged to provide equal opportunities to candidates or electoral associations to advocate their programs; printed propaganda must include information on persons or groups in charge of issue; anonymous propaganda is prohibited.
Pre-election campaigns not to involve abuse of freedom of mass media by stimulating social, racial national or religious intolerance or animosity, or appeal to seizure of power, violent modification of constitutional system or state integrity or war; electoral committee is authorized to appeal to court for cancellation of candidate's registration for violations; court to examine appeal within 3 days;
electoral committees shall audit observance of procedures for pre-election campaigns.
Pre-election campaigns begin from date of candidate registration and terminate one day prior to election day; publishing of public opinion polls or forecast of outcome or any other study of results prohibited beginning 5 days prior to election.
Defines authorized campaign fund-raising and limitations; requirement for establishment of candidate election fund; use of election funds solely for preelection campaign purposes; relevant electoral committees obliged to make periodically public information about amounts and sources of raised electoral funds based on data submitted by candidate or electoral association; with full reporting to electoral commission of raised funds and expenses within 30 days after election; and electoral commission must publish reports within 45 days after election.
Federal Law on Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights for the Citizens of the Russian Federation, Continued
Any and all monetary assets collected for election fund shall be transferred to account with a bank or other credit institution; account shall be opened by candidates or electoral associations by permission of corresponding electoral committee upon registration of the candidate; CEC to establish procedures for opening and keeping the accounts and reporting of assets by agreement with Central Bank; rights to dispose of funds granted to candidate or electoral association; after elections, balances to be transferred to accounts of donating or allocating organizations and persons
Federal Law on Election of the President of the Russian Federation
Article 37, Para. 1:
Candidate working in mass media relieved from official duties during the campaign period;
Citizens, candidates, electoral associations, electoral blocs, initiative groups entitled to campaign freely; restricts state and municipal bodies and their officer, military units and institutions, charitable organizations and religious associations, members of electoral committees from campaigning; pre-election campaigns begin upon registration of candidate and end 12:00 p.m. prior to the day preceding election day; identifies allowable campaign activities including use of mass media; journalists, officials of boards of editors of mass media not allowed to conduct information television and radio programs, take part in elucidation of election through mass media if they are candidates or agents of the candidates or members of electoral commissions.
p.1 cites misuse of freedom of mass media similar to Article 25 in Law on Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights; p.3 requires electoral commission to exercise control over adherence to established order of pre-election campaigns; if informed of unlawful speeches or distribution of unlawful propaganda must pursue measures to prevent these activities through respective bodies, and may appeal to Supreme court to cancel candidates' registration.
Provides candidates broadcasting time on TV and radio financed at the expense of respective budgets (federal or subject) on equal grounds free of charge; electoral associations, blocs and initiative groups entitled to use state and municipal TV and radio; instructions on procedures for granting air time to be published by CEC with participation by state bodies that ensure basic rights and freedoms in mass media, and considering suggestions of candidates, electoral associations, blocs and initiative groups; identifies forms for use in mass media; candidates are entitled to use municipal radio and TV; candidates, electoral associations, blocs and initiative groups are entitled to determine the form and nature of their propaganda; interruption of TV and radio broadcasts containing campaign materials with advertising for goods, works or services; TV and radio programs shall give information on conduct of the pre-election campaigns in a separate bloc only without any comment and identification bloc shall be at not charge; persons employed by mass media may not take part in reporting the election through the mass media if they are candidates; TV and radio broadcasts containing pre-election campaigning shall be recorded on video and audio tape to be stored for. 6 months.
Relating to campaign funds of the candidates; limitations on fund-raising and sources of funds; transfer of electoral funds to accounts with Divisions of Savings Banks of the Russian Federation; reporting of deposits and expenditures and account activity by banks to the CEC; refunding improper or unlawful contributions; candidates restricted from using money from any sources other than their official election fund; CEC
entitled to apply to Supreme Court for deregistration of candidate found to have used other monetary resources for the conduct of the pre-election campaign other than those from the election fund account.
Procedures for the Accounting of funds and financial reports; p. 1, CEC to determine procedures in compliance with legislation; p.3, candidates to submit financial reports to CEC within 30 days after election; CEC to provide copies of reports to mass media.
Laws of Russian Federation on Mass Media
In particular: Articles 3, 4, 26, 34, 35,43,44,45, 47, 49, 51,58, 62 Article 3: Inadmissibility of censorship;
Article 4: Inadmissibility of Misuse of freedom of mass communication;
Article 26; Mass communication products disseminated only after editor-in-chief permits publication;
Article 34: Storekeeping of radio and TV broadcasting materials; preservation of their own broadcasts recorded or aired; maintain registration tog of on air broadcasts; registration log to identify date and time of broadcast, topic, author, announcer and participants; sets time for which materials and registers have to be maintained;
Article 35; Obligatory reports including official reports on demand of state agencies regulated by their statutes and other materials whose publication is mandated by legislation of the Russian Federation;
Article 43: Right of any citizen to refutation and disproof of information that does not correspond to reality or denigrates the person's honor, dignity which was spread by the given mass medium; citizen or organization may provide or read his own text in the refutation.
Article 44: Prescribes manner and order of refutation.
Article 45: Defines grounds on which demand for refutation can be denied.
Article 46: Citizen's right to answer in the same mass medium which disseminated information counter to reality.
Article 47: Defines rights of a journalist.
Article 49: Defines duties of journalists.
Article 51: Inadmissibility of abusing journalists rights including spread of rumors in the guise of authentic reports, concealment or falsification of publicly important information, or spreading information with the aim of discrediting a private citizen or particular categories of private citizens [....] of political convictions.
Article 58: Responsibility for the infringement on the freedom of mass communication including illegal termination or suspensions of a the functioning of a mass medium, compulsion of journalists to spread information or to refuse to spread it; interference in the activity and breach of professional independence of the editorial office, breach of rights of journalists.
Article 60: Responsibility for Breaches of Legislation on Mass Media including prevention of the spread of mass media products put out on lawful grounds [...] violations of rules for spreading obligatory reports, advertisements [...]
Article 62: Compensation for moral damage inflicted on a private citizen as a result of spread by a mass medium information running counter to the reality and denigrating the honor and dignity of a person or causing to him other non-property damages [...] by decision of a court by the mass medium, guilty officials, and private citizens.
p.4, Acquisition and exercise of rights and obligations under a name of another person not allowed;
p.5, Damage caused to a person as a result of improper use of this person's name must be compensated; if improper use of a name of a person by means or in form that harms his/her honor, professional reputation or dignity, provisions of Article 152 of Civic Code apply
Protection of honor, dignity and professional reputation;
p.1, any citizen has right to demand in court official objection of any information discrediting his personal honor, dignity or professional reputation, if person who disseminated such information cannot prove it in court;
p.3, any citizen whose rights and legal interests have been discredited by information provided in mass media has right to publish response in same mass media source;
p. 5, any citizen whose honor, dignity or professional reputation has been discredited has right to demand compensation of losses or moral damage together with official objections to such information
Criminal Code of Russian Federation and Code of Administrative Misdemeanors of Russian Federation
Fines assessed to candidates, deputies or electoral associations and blocs who fail to provide or publish reports on all campaign contributions and all expenditures.
Fines and confiscation of contributions assessed for unlawful receipt of funds by candidates or electoral associations.
While these examples cover a great deal of information about rules, which must be applied, they are not necessarily inclusive of all laws that impact the pre-election period. Representatives of the mass media, candidates, electoral associations, initiative groups, local administrative authorities, members of electoral commissions and other participants who will be engaged in activities or responsibilities related to the pre-election campaign should research other laws that may apply.
In addition, participants should be vigilant in familiarizing themselves with pertinent Regulations adopted by the Central Election Commission and other state and local bodies who bear responsibilities relative to the pre-election campaign period. Often the regulations provide procedural detail not explicitly articulated in the law. Some applicable regulations have already been adopted, while others may be considered for adoption in the near future. In either case it will be important to stay informed in order to ensure full compliance with all legal requirements. Examples of Regulations to watch for include:
Regulations on the Procedure for Accounting for Receipt and Spending of Monetary Assets of the Election Funds of Candidates
Procedure for Accounting of Receipt and Spending of Monetary Assets of Election Funds of Candidates
Regulations on Use of Mass Media in the Pre-Election Campaign
Explanations or Instructions Adopted by Local Administrative Authorities on Use of Municipal Mass Media in the Pro-Election Campaigns
Explanations of the CEC Regarding Activities of Candidates, Their Agents, Members of Commission, and Representatives of Media, Electoral Associations, Electoral Blocs and Initiative Groups