Access to the media should be guaranteed to all political parties and candidates and be fairly distributed.
- Individuals or political parties shall have the right to freedom of movement, to campaign and to express political opinions with full access to the media and information within the limits of the laws of the land.
- SADC Member States shall adhere to the following principles in the conduct of democratic elections: Equal opportunity for all political parties to access the state media.
- Provide that no legal or administrative obstacle stands in the way of unimpeded access to the media on a non-discriminatory basis for all political groupings and individuals wishing to participate in the electoral process.
- The exercise of power and the use of public funds by the state, the granting of customs duty privileges, the arbitrary and discriminatory placement of official advertising and government loans, the concession of radio and television broadcast frequencies, among others, with the intent to put pressure on and punish or reward the opinions they express threaten freedom of expression, and must be explicitly prohibited by law.
- We commit our Governments to: d) safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of…expression…as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders, during electoral processes.
- Access to the mass media should also be guaranteed to political parties and candidates, and such access should be fairly distributed. Fair media access implies not only allocation of broadcast time or print space to all parties and candidates, but also fairness in the placement of timing of such access (i.e. prime-time versus late-night broadcasts, or front-page versus back-page publication).
- Access of candidates and political parties particularly in respect of public Media, should follow the principle of equality of opportunity.
- ...the State and its organs should therefore ensure: That parties and candidates are free to communicate their views to the electorate, and that they enjoy equality of access to State and public-service media.
- With these broad principles in mind, the Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize that in pre-election periods…Media inform the public about the political parties, candidates, campaign issues and voting processes; government media are balanced and impartial in election reporting, do not discriminate against any political party or candidate in granting access to air time and ensure that news, interview and information programmes are not biased in favour of, or against any party or candidate.
- [G]overnment regulation of the media is of crucial importance to a meaningful election campaign. While larger and better financed parties and candidates may be able to purchase media time or space, an equitable formula should be reached to permit all contestants reasonable access to public print and electronic media.
- Arrangements for fair media access by candidates and parties are an important focus of electoral law. This is especially evident where the major information media are government-controlled. Media regulations should provide for safeguards against political censorship, unfair government advantage and unequal access during the campaign period.
- Equality of opportunity must be guaranteed for parties and candidates alike. This entails a neutral attitude by state authorities, in particular with regard to: ii. coverage by the media, in particular by the publicly owned media.
- Media regulations should provide safeguards against political censorship, unfair government advantage and unequal access during the campaign period.
- With these broad principles in mind, the Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize that in pre-election periods... (e) Airtime for direct access programmes is granted on a fair and non-discriminatory basis; the time allocated to parties or candidates is sufficient for them to communicate their messages and for the voters to inform themselves about the issues, party positions, qualifications and character of candidates.
- It is generally accepted that [the public media] should not be political partisan in their editorial coverage. This was the view set out by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, in his 1999 report, when he spoke of the obligation of the state-owned media to give voice to a variety of opinions and not to be a propaganda organ for one particular political party. Also, they have particular obligations to provide civic education, as well as to provide a platform for the different political parties. This point is fundamental. Use of a public resource for partisan political campaigning carries all the same legal and ethical implications whether the resource is funds, a vehicle, a building, or a radio station. This is why there are so often clear laws or regulations protecting public media against government interference.
- [States should foster citizen participation in the electoral process by] ensuring freedom of political debate in the media and guaranteeing that electoral campaigns are open and accessible and that they allow genuine debate that is not only of interest to voters but also informative for their choices. This requires, in particular, transparency and pluralism of all media as well as equal access for all candidates and political parties to the public service media, which should be impartial. Any national regulations on election campaigns should strike a fair balance between freedom of expression and ensuring equal opportunities.