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Electronic media object to ban on political advertising

Electronic media in Slovakia are objecting to a ban on broadcasting of political advertising leading up to the regional elections in November. The TA3 news channel told SITA that the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission, in its statement on the election campaign, stated that it will consider the broadcasting of political ads for the regional elections to be violations of the law on broadcasting and retransmission.

Electronic media in Slovakia are objecting to a ban on broadcasting of political advertising leading up to the regional elections in November. The TA3 news channel told SITA that the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission, in its statement on the election campaign, stated that it will consider the broadcasting of political ads for the regional elections to be violations of the law on broadcasting and retransmission.

The director of the Office of the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission, Luboš Kuklis, told SITA that the law stipulates that political advertising is forbidden unless a particular election law says otherwise. The law on regional elections does not mention political advertising. Kuklis added that the council has paid attention to this issue since the law came into force in 2001. Unless the law changes, the license council may not adopt a different approach, he added. Harmonisation of election laws would resolve the issue, as different rules apply to different elections.

The statement that the Association of Independent Radio and Television Stations delivered to the license council, however, suggests the opposite of the council's statement.

“Legal regulations on election campaigns establish the possibility of broadcasting political advertising,” TA3 states in its press release. The association came to the conclusion based on several legal opinions, which stipulate that “legal regulations allow broadcasting political ads in electronic media”. The association referred to the Slovak Constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of speech, and protects free competition of political parties.

TA3 said that in spite of its belief that the ban on political advertising is unlawful, it will respect it. The election campaign for regional elections this year starts on October 28 and ends on November 12 at 7:00 which is 48 hours before the start of voting in the elections, when a pre-election moratorium starts. The law on regional elections only states that all candidates and political parties should get equal space to present themselves on billboards in municipalities. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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