National broadcaster Radio Televizioni Shqiptar 2 (RTSH2) has been fined €16,200 for broadcasting political advertisements on April 24, the day of election silence.
The decision was taken by the Central Election Commission on May 27, 2021.
The law prohibits the broadcasting of advertisements and political activities during election silence.
According to data from the Audio-visual Media Authority, it appears that RTSH also breached other rules relating to the amount of airtime given to political parties during the electoral period. The broadcaster which is supposed to be impartial and receives funding from the OSCE gave 58% of its political airtime to the Socialist Party.
As per Articles 81 and 84 of the Electoral Code, a TV station should give equal airtime to those that got less than 20% of the vote during the previous election including LSI, PSD, PR, PAA, and new parties. Those that received more than 20% in the last election such as the PS and PD should not get more than double the airtime of the smaller parties.
Overall, smaller parties and independent candidates were not allocated the amount of airtime prescribed by law.
AMA looked at 22 television stations and found that the PS got 50% of news time while PD had 38%. LSI had 7% and only 5% went to 14 other political parties. 17 out of 22 stations gave more time to PS and five gave more to PD.
Three of the TV stations with the highest concentration of viewers, Top Channel, TV Klan, and Vizion Plus had the highest amount of PS coverage. They dedicated some 59% of their election coverage to PS.
It’s not clear if they will face fines and penalties for these violations.