News coverage of incumbents in public media during electoral campaigns is permitted, but should not be abused, constituting additional free airtime or print coverage.
- Where self-regulation does not provide for this, member States should adopt measures whereby public and private broadcasters, during the election period, should in particular be fair balanced and impartial in their news and current affairs programmers, including discussion programmes such as interviews or debates. No privileged treatment should be given by broadcasters to public authorities during such programmes.
- The standard of equitable treatment and access to the media are undermined if state-owned or controlled media are able to favour a political party or candidate in supposed news coverage, political coverage, forums or editorials. Biased coverage or preferential treatment in State media should be prohibited by law, with penalties or corrective mechanisms defined.
- The level playing field metaphor is used to describe a process that protects equal treatment and fair opportunity. It is evaluated by considering, among other issues: (1) the degree to which competitors are afforded equitable access to…media access and news coverage.
- The standard of equal treatment and access to media is undermined if state owned or controlled media is able to favor a political party or candidate in news coverage, political coverage, forums, or editorials. Biased coverage or treatment in state media should be prohibited and authorities should be required to immediately act upon any violation.
- [W]hile the incumbent will get media coverage concerning state affairs, campaign events should not be confused with issues of state.
- As the purpose of talk shows and current-affairs programmes is to provide viewers and listeners with insight and knowledge of current issues, they will not necessarily provide a balanced view within a single programme, but they should do so over a series.
- With these broad principles in mind, the Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize that in pre-election periods…(d)There is a clear distinction between news and press conferences related to functions of office and activities by members of the governments, particularly if the member concerned is seeking election.
- While the incumbents may get media coverage concerning their official duties, this should not be misused as a means to give them an unfair advantage, and campaign events should not be confused with the issues of State.