There were no significant violations by TV stations of the legislation concerning the pre-election period, Neofytos Epaminondas, director of the Cyprus Radiotelevision Authority (CRTA) told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
Referring to possible violations of the legislation of the pre-election period by the radio and television stations, Epaminondas stated that “there doesn’t seem to have been any significant violations by the stations, especially in the 40 days that our law defines as the pre-election period.” He explained that during this period the authority carries out surveillance across all stations to examine whether there has been equal treatment or television/radio coverage of the candidates.
The CRTA director added that there is a ceiling, according to which each candidate is entitled to a total of 100 minutes of television advertising and 60 minutes of radio advertising. This year, he said, “the stations didn’t get too far, because most of the political advertising was done through social media and not the traditional mass media.”
Epaminondas said that the Authority monitors public-opinion polls, which stop one week before the election day. “Tonight at midnight is the last time stations are allowed to air political advertising,” he added.
Furthermore, he said that the Authority also examines the issue of equal treatment “which is not so easy”. He explained that there are loopholes in the sense that there were complaints from some candidates about the televised debates, where only the top three candidates participated. “As Authority we made some interventions and finally in the most recent debate other candidates participated besides the top three”, he pointed out.
In particular, Epaminondas noted the CRTA received complaints from presidential candidate Achilleas Demetriades and ELAM – whose leader Christos Christou is also running in the presidential elections – who were not invited to the recent televised debate, in which three candidates were invited. “The stations feel they have the right to hold a debate and call the three main candidates, because they have called the rest of the candidates in other debates they have organised,” he added.