#10 - JRL 7242
CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND MEDIA COME TO MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
MOSCOW, June 27, 2003. /from a RIA Novosti correspondent/ -- The innovations contained in the legislation on mass media are aimed at protecting the freedom of speech, Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Alexander Veshnyakov told journalists after the commission's session Friday.
He said that the commission had met lawyers of federal TV and radio companies and periodicals Thursday.
"It was a fruitful, constructive meeting that lasted more than two hours," Veshnyakov pointed out.
According to him, they discussed innovations in the Russian legislation related to the media participation in electoral campaigns, in particular, their coverage and campaigning.
Veshnyakov believes "the media got exhaustive replies to all their questions." He added that such contacts would be permanent and replies to some of the questions would be published.
The Central Electoral Commission head stressed that mutual understanding had been achieved at the meeting. According to him, nothing suggests now that amendments to the Election Law and the Media Law could restrict the freedom of speech and impede democratic elections. Veshnyakov recalled that such apprehensions appeared as the amendments had been prepared.
"We have demonstrated convincingly that all these innovations are aimed at protecting the freedom of speech, promote democracy, just elections and protect the media from attempts to use them in dirty manipulations," Veshnyakov pointed out. He hopes "this constructive dialogue will enable the media to find a legal niche of their own in the organisation of this work."