Azerbaijan, Baku, 15 January / Trend corr. E.Huseynli/ The National TV and Radio Council (NTVRC) of Azerbaijan will develop new rules for the broadcast of pre-election campaigns by candidates for the presidential post on private channels. "Candidates cannot take more than 20% of air time on channels. A new bill on TV and Radio Broadcasting will be developed in Azerbaijan, Nushiravan Maharramli, the chairman of NTVRC, stated to Trend on 15 January.
There have been no changes made concerning the pre-election campaign of the Azerbaijani Election Code to broadcast on private channels. The Code includes only the norms to perform on mass media, which are state structures and financed by the State budget.
Maharramli stated that private channels abuse existing problems of the Code. There were violations observed in private channels during the parliamentary elections in 2005. Maharramli considers that candidates may use the time allocated for advertising. "I believe that the problem would be reflected in the Election Code. The Council will shorten the time to 12 minutes in any one hour, if the issue is not settled before the presidential elections," Maharramli stated.
Natig Mammadov, the chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan, stated to trend that the heads of private channels must create equal conditions for the candidates of the presidential post. There are problems in the pre-election campaigns of candidates of the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for 15 October 2008, in the Election Code of Azerbaijan. The CEC chairman said that under the Code, lot drawing is used in order to provide equal time on private channels for candidates.