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League of Voters Demands TV Channels Stop Campaigning for Putin

Source: HRO.org (info), 13/02/12

· Electoral Rights

Russian TV channels are violating the law and broadcasting campaigning materials on behalf of only one of the candidates for president – prime minister Vladimir Putin. This is the conclusion to which the Council of Founders of the League of Voters has come at the end of the first week of campaigning in the presidential election.

The Council has sent an open letter to the heads of Channel One, the Federal State Russian TV and Radio Company (VGTRK) and NTV, and also to the head of the Election Central Commission Vladimir Churov, warning that the ‘obvious PR’ for Vladimir Putin must be stopped, the website of the League of Voters reports.

“V. Putin as newsmaker dominates all the news programmes. The federal TV channels devote an excessive amount of attention to broadcasting every step he makes and every word he says, treating them as the most important media events. All information coming from the prime minister is presented as absolute truth: there are no assessments by impartial experts, his opponents are denied airtime, and the tone of TV commentators is unwaveringly reverential”, the letter says.

As Ridus.ru reports, the Council of the League of Voters has asked the heads of federal TV channels to give equal media access to all candidates, and asks Vladimir Churov to monitor how the channels meet this demand. If this does not happen, the Council warns, citizens will consider the election campaign to be unlawful and dishonest, and this “threatens serious upheavals for society and the state.”