Comelec sets online campaign rules for May polls-A A +A
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved a resolution, which will regulate the online election propaganda of politicians running in the forthcoming midterm polls in May.
"All parties and bona fide candidates shall have equal access to media time and space for their election propaganda during the campaign period subject to requirements and/or limitations," said Comelec Resolution 9615.
In its rules, the Comelec said the maximum size for online materials for each candidate shall be medium (300 width x 250 height); square pop-up (250 x 250); vertical rectangle (240 x 400); large rectangle (336 x 280); rectangle (180 x 150); 3:1 rectangle (300 x 100); pop-under (7.20 x 300); full banner (468 x 60); half banner (234 x 60); micro bar (88 x 31); button 1 (120 x 90); button 2 (120 x 60); vertical banner (120 x 240); square button (125 x 125); leaderboard (728 x 90); wide skyscrapers (160 x 600); skyscraper (120 x 600); and half-page ad (300 x 600).
The poll body said online advertisements shall "not be published more than three times in a week per website" during the campaign period.
"For this purpose, the exhibition or display of the online advertisement for any length of time, regardless of frequency, within a 24-hour period, shall be construed as one instance of publication," said the Comelec.
This would mark the first time that the Comelec has imposed rules on online political campaigning.
"Given the many improvements, particularly in the social media like Facebook and Twitter… and to keep up with all these technology, the law has to be adjusted. It is well within the power of the Comelec to enforce such laws. That is just keeping with our mandate," said Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento in an interview.
On the other hand, website owners or administrators are being directed to submit to the Comelec a certified true copy of the logs, which will be subjected to the review and verification of the frequency, date, time, and duration of ads aired for any candidate or party.
Aside from the new rules on online campaigning, the Comelec also sought to amend rules on broadcast campaign, particularly on "tandem ads" or those that feature a party-list and a candidate.
"Tandem ads (party-list + candidate) / joint ads (multiple candidates in 1 ad) will be charged to airtime of each candidate," Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said.
For each national candidate, the commission said their advertisements must not be more than a combined total of 120 minutes for TV and 180 minutes for radio.
As for local bets, TV advertisements must not be more than a collective total of 60 minutes and 90 minutes for radio.
On the other hand, the poll body said appearances and guestings on a bona fide newscast, interview, documentary that can be considered incidental to the presentation of the subjects covered by the news shall not be considered campaign propaganda.
"To determine whether the appearance in a program is bona fide, the broadcast station must show that prior approval of the commission was secured, and that candidates and parties were afforded equal opportunities to promote their candidacy," said the resolution.
As for published election propaganda, the poll body said the maximum size of print advertisements must be 1/4 page in broadsheets and 1/2 page in tabloids.
"Print advertisements shall not be published more than three times a week per newspaper, magazine, or other publication during the campaign period," said the Comelec.
Violations of the resolution, anchored on the Fair Election Act, shall constitute an election offense.
An election offense carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment as well as removal of right to vote and run for public office.
To note, the campaign period for national candidates and party-lists will not begin until February 12 while local bets will start theirs on March 29. (HDT/Sunnex)