On October 31, the Republican Press Center for covering the elections of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan has played host to a videoconference workshop for journalists to discuss the participation of mass media in the electoral campaigning.
It was noted at the seminar that the media are an important element in holding free democratic elections. During the electoral season the voters are provided with access to complete information about the political parties participating in the ballot, the electoral programs of those running for President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as the essence and significance of the electoral process.
The current electoral season for the forthcoming presidential elections has entered a new phase. The election campaigning kicked off on October 28. Under the Law on the Elections of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, during the campaigning the presidential nominees are provided with equal access to mass media with the same amount of airtime and print space provided for them free of charge. In the non-state media, candidates can be allocated airtime and print space in accordance with the law.
The order, volume and time of use of the media for the purposes of election campaigning is defined by the Central Election Commission in consultation with the political parties. In this regard, taking into account the proposals of the latter, in order for each candidate to inform the voters about the main provisions of their electoral programs, they have been granted 638 minutes of free airtime on the TV and radio channels Uzbekistan and Yoshlar of the National Television and Radio Company, 206 minutes on 12 local TV and radio channels of the National Television and Radio Company, 286 minutes on the TV and radio channel Toshkent of the same company.
Candidates are provided with print space free of charge, in particular in the newspapers Khalq Suzi, Narodnoe Slovo and Pravda Vostoka with 6 pages each, 5 pages each in the papers Ovozi Tojik and Nurly Zhol, as well as 55.5 print space stripes in 30 local newspapers in general.
It was noted that during the election campaigning, candidates need media assistance in creating an atmosphere of openness and transparency, dissemination of any information related to their election campaigning in line with the criteria of efficiency, adequacy, equity and objectivity. When covering the electoral activities of presidential hopefuls in news programs and other information materials, the media provide for equal playing field, including the duration and amount of coverage, using the materials broadcast and published in a single information unit.
In the meantime, the relations pertaining to the allocation of paid airtime or print space shall be carried out on the basis of a contract concluded between the media outlet and political parties. The information disseminated by the media must be true, should not violate the rights and legitimate interests of candidates and political parties.
The seminar passed in the form of a free exchange of views, and the journalists received answers to their questions.
Source: The Central election commission