Andrei Bastunets gave comments on the “Regulation of using mass media to prepare and hold the parliamentary elections to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Fifth Convocation”.
As the lawyer BAJ deputy chair Andrei Bastunets explained, the only difference between the forthcoming and the previous elections is the possibility for candidates to set up special money funds. This money can be additionally used to buy radio and TV time for campaigning and to publish their electoral theses in local and national newspapers.
As usually, each candidate will have five minutes on air at the respective regional TV and radio channels, and also a possibility to publish their program (less than 400 signs) in a republican newspaper (“Zviazda”, “Narodnaia Gazeta”, “Respublika”, “Belaruskaia Niva”) or in a respective regional, city newspaper or a newspaper at a particular voting district.
At the same time, the regulation, as well as the Electoral Code, does not provide a possibility for censorship; so if some text somehow violates the law, it will be simply removed off air or won’t be published. “Though, perhaps candidates will have their texts edited themselves, facing the threat of being removed,” thinks Mr Bastunets.
According to the Regulation, the order of free addresses on air will be set by holding a draw at a particular voting commission; and texts will be published in the order as they are sent to the editorial offices.
An innovation this year is holding debates between candidates. During the debates on TV and the radio each candidate will have five minutes to list their theses.
The rest of the campaign, but for the guaranteed on-air time and newspaper space, must be paid for by the candidate from his or her own pre-electoral fund.
Andrei Bastunets assumes that the most difficult thing will be for each candidate to agree with an editorial office upon publishing his or her own advertisement.