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    Election Law in BiH: Chapter 16 - Media in the Election Campaign

    ELECTION LAW IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

    - Consolidated version for internal use only -
    Taken from the web site of the Central Election Commission
    www.izbori.ba

    CHAPTER 16

    MEDIA IN THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN

    Article 16.1

    The media in BiH shall cover election activities in a just, professional and competent manner, consistently respecting the journalists code of conduct and generally accepted democratic rules and principles, especially the basic principles of freedom of expression.

    Article 16.2

    Electronic media shall cover pre-election activities and observe the principle of balance, fairness and impartiality.

    Article 16.3

    (1) In broadcasts of the electronic media, no political entity shall have a privileged position with respect to another political entity.

    (2) Officials at all levels of authority who participate in the elections as candidates must not enjoy a privileged position with respect to other participants in the electoral process.

    (3) Informing on regular activities of officials at all levels of authority is allowed within information programs of electronic media, with no reference to their candidacy for the elections or their party membership, whenever the information is about the activities that fall within the scope of activities of the body they represent as set forth by the Law.

    Article 16.4

    Electronic media shall pay special attention to respect the principles of balance, fairness and impartiality in information programs, especially in news, interviews and discussions on important political issues, such as round tables and similar, which thematically do not directly concern the election activities of political entities, but which could influence opinion of voters.

    Article 16.5

    (1) The electronic media shall clearly and without reservation disclose the following information in releasing results of a public opinion survey:

    a) Name of the institution or person that ordered and paid the survey,
    b) Name and the seat of the institution that conducted the survey,
    c) Size of the sample and a possible tolerance in the survey results,
    d) The period in which the survey was conducted.

    (2) Results of a telephone public opinion research or street poll conducted among voters during the campaign shall not be presented as a reliable or trustful opinion of a particular social group, which must be particularly emphasised by the media that conducts the survey and announces results.

    Article 16.6

    Journalists and moderators in the electronic media must not express their possible party membership or affiliation in regular or special programs.

    Article 16.7

    The order of appearance for direct address by political entities in special programs shall be established by drawing a lot prior to the campaign, in the presence of representatives of political entities and the Central Election Commission of BIH.

    Article 16.8

    (1) The electronic media shall inform all political entities of the timings for their participation in special programs.

    (2) Once established the timings must not be changed, and failure of a political entity to show up shall be considered as voluntarily giving up of the election campaign presentation in the electronic media.

    Article 16.9

    (1) The public electronic media shall broadcast radio and TV promotionals entire statements and information by the Central Election Commission of BiH free of charge for the purpose of informing voters about all aspects of the electoral process.

    (2) If the public electronic media refuse to act in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Article, the Central Election Commission of BiH shall file a report with the Communications Regulatory Agency for competent action.

    Article 16.10

    Results of public opinion research related to the voting and elections shall not be released during the period beginning 48 hours prior to the opening of Polling Stations and until the close of polling stations.

    Article 16.11

    (1) No media coverage of any political and electoral campaign activity shall take place in the whole territory of BiH during the period beginning twenty-four (24) hours prior to the opening of the Polling Stations.

    (2) The campaign silence period shall continue until the close of Polling Stations.

    Article 16.12

    (1) The electronic media shall provide equal conditions for paid political advertisements of political entities (commercials, public calls, jingles, video-clips and any other type of promotion of a political entity) in the period of 30 days prior to the election day.

    (2) The electronic media shall ensure that paid political advertisements are clearly separated from the rest of the program and shall not be counted within the limit on the allowed time for commercials set by the Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA/RAK) of BiH.

    (3) The electronic media shall receive orders for paid political advertisements directly from political entities or through the legal or private persons so authorised by the political entities.

    (4) Orders including the contents of advertisements shall be delivered to the electronic media not later than 48 hours prior to broadcast.

    (5) Advertisements shall be paid in advance and the prices of political advertisements must not be higher than the prices in the existing marketing price-list of the given media.

    Article 16.13

    The electronic media shall have the right to refuse to broadcast a political advertisement in case that:

    a) the advertisement has not been properly ordered in a written form;
    b) the advertisement does not meet technical and professional standards which are clearly identified and of which the political entity has been duly informed; and
    c) the advertisement or the content thereof violates the Constitution or laws of BIH.

    Article 16.14

    (1) The public electronic media shall present political entities in an equal and fair manner and shall inform the public of all issues related to the campaign and the election process during 30 days prior to the Election Day.

    (2) The public electronic media shall provide free broadcast time for direct access by political entities during 30 days prior to the Election Day.

    (3) No conduct of a paid election campaign shall be allowed by way of electronic and printed media, or any form of paid public advertising, except for the holding of internal gatherings of authorities and statutory bodies of the political entities, within the period between the day when elections are announced and the day of official start of the election campaign.

    (4) The regulations of the Central Election Commission of BIH shall determine the amount of broadcast time to be allocated to the political entities, the broadcast time and duration of the broadcast, as well as the geographic regions covered by the broadcasts.

    (5) The public electronic media shall provide equal conditions for paid political advertisements of political parties in the duration of maximum 30 minutes per week during 30 days prior to the election day.

    Article 16.15

    (1) The private electronic media shall provide equal conditions for paid political advertisements of political entities in the duration of maximum 60 minutes per week during 30 days prior to the election day.

    (2) The private electronic media may provide free broadcast time for direct access by political parties, during 30 days prior to the Election Day, but under equal conditions applicable to all.

    (3) At the written request, the body competent to regulate the work of the electronic media may exempt specific private electronic media from application of this Article.

    (4) The private electronic media broadcasting its own information and political program or relaying a program received from another media shall not be subject to the provision of the previous Paragraph.

    Article 16.16

    (1) The body regulating the work of the electronic media that is responsible to implement laws and regulations related to media, shall be competent in all cases of violation of the provisions governing the media concerning elections as established by this Law and other laws governing the work of the media.

    (2) The Central Election Commission of BiH shall be competent to decide complaints of violations of this Chapter committed by political entities.

    Article 16.17

    The political entities shall refer to the Press Council of BIH with their complaints of a content in the printed media concerning coverage of the electoral campaign.

    Article 16.18

    The Central Election Commission of BiH shall issue by-laws to regulate in more detail the application of the provisions of this Chapter.

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