TV Stations File Complaint at OSCE and Media Authority over “Free” Political Ads

Ten representatives of the main TV stations in Albania have sent a complaint letter to the Audiovisual Media Authority and the OSCE about their obligation to transmit political advertisements for free during the election campaign.

In their complaint, they state that the Electoral Code has precedence over the Law for Political Parties that was recently amended in Parliament, and demand that the two institutions take action to enforce the Electoral Code.

According to the Electoral Code, the state television sets apart transmission time for political parties free of charge. Private TV stations are allowed to transmit paid ads for political parties, but only as long as the total amount of coverage per party (including ads and regular coverage) is according to the same proportions as prescribed for public television.

The amendments made to the Law for Political Parties violate the Electoral Code in the sense that they obligate private television stations to transmit the same amount of free ads as public television.

Yesterday, the Society of Audiovisual Media (SMA) had already denounced the recent amendments in strong terms:

The law has been approved in gross violation of the Constitution which guarantees the freedom and protection of private property in Albania.

The SMA has also declared that they will file a complaint against the amended Law for Political Parties at the Constitutional Court.