19 Mar 2018 17:45

Russian presidential elections involved media restrictions - OSCE statement

MOSCOW/VIENNA. March 19 (Interfax) - The Russian presidential election involved various restrictions on the media, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)'s international monitoring mission said in a statement on Monday.

"Television, and particularly broadcasters founded, owned or supported by the state, remains the dominant source of political information [...] A restrictive legislative and regulatory framework limits freedom of the media and promotes self-censorship," the statement said.

In particular, while the incumbent president did not participate in debates or campaigning, the extensive coverage of his official activities provided him with a dominant presence, it said.

For this reason, critical assessments of the incumbent president's views and qualifications were absent in most media, the statement said.

The CEC received a number of complaints regarding media coverage, including from the candidates themselves, but turned down all of them but one, it said.

The media outlets monitored by the ODIHR observer mission complied with the legal requirements to air debates and provided contestants and the political parties that nominated them with free airtime and space during the official media campaign, the monitoring mission said.