Journalists’ Accreditation And Work On Election Day

Journalists’ Accreditation And Work On Election Day

What has happened?

Elections to the National Assembly are elected on December 9, 2018 and the procedure for coverage accreditation has undergone some changes.

What has changed?

In the previous elections held on April 2, 2017, according to Article 31 (8) of the Electoral code, no more than 50 representatives could be accredited from one mass media outlet.

In December 2017, the Constitutional Court recognized this part of the above mentioned Article of the Electoral Code unconstitutional. There is no limit now.

What should the media do to get accreditation?

The media should submit a written application to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) and a list of mass media representatives after the release of the election date but no later than 15 days before the elections.

Who has the right to be accredited?

Only those companies who have at least one year’s experience of covering news can get accredited. The one year limit doesn’t apply to over-the-air broadcast media i.e. TV companies and radio companies.

What do foreign media outlets need to do to get accreditation?

The foreign media outlet must present the accreditation application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

No later than five days after submitting the application for accreditation and list of media representatives, the CEC transmits the certificates to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry sends the application and list of media representatives to the CEC, which prepares the certificates within the five-day period.

Accredited journalists receive certificates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The journalist at the polling station.

The journalist is obligated to have a CEC certificate and ID card in order to enter the electoral precinct. The certificate is valid in the presence of an identification document.

The media representative is first registered in the electoral registry. They are obligated to visibly wear their accreditation certificate, otherwise the Chairperson of the Commission may ask them to leave.

How many representatives of the same media can be present at the same time in the voting room?

One journalist and one photographer or cameraman.

What rights does a media representative have in the polling station and what is prohibited?

They can record the electoral commissions’ sessions, the voting process, summarize the results and familiarize themselves with the electoral documents of the commission except for the list of voters who have participated and voting tickets.

The media representative does not have the right to interfere in the work of the electoral commission and the process of voting, to carry out propaganda, to give instructions to the members of the electoral commission and to make demands.

In what case can journalists be removed from the polling station?

If the number of journalists and observers simultaneously in the voting room is so much that the voting process is obviously disrupted.

In that case, the Commission has the right to make that number up to 15, by the decision of at least 2/3 vote of the total number of members.

The restriction does not apply to visitors, international observers and representatives of television and radio companies performing on-air broadcasting.