The state Duma will close the “journalistic” loophole for election observers


Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on constitutional legislation and state building United Russia Dmitry Vyatkin has prepared legislative amendments that impose additional requirements for journalists on election day. About it he told . The amendments will allow candidates and non-profit organizations to send to the polling stations its observers under the guise of the media.

Changes prepared for the second reading of another bill Vyatkina, which he made in December and the changes of the laws “On basic guarantees of electoral rights” and “On elections of deputies of the State Duma”. On 24 February they will consider the Committee on constitutional legislation, and on February 26 the state Duma can adopt in the final reading, hoped Vyatkin. “Given the reputation of our colleagues and the elaboration of initiatives I expect that the Committee recommends them for adoption”, — said the Chairman of the Committee Vladimir Pligin.

Experience not less than two months

The bill, according to Vyatkin, provides that to work at the polls on election day will only those journalists who were previously accredited in the Central election Commission. Accredited to three days before election day. Entered and personal requirements: accreditation will be received only by those who work in the editorial office at least two months and is either in the state or receives payment on the basis of a civil right of the contract. We are talking about elections at all levels: Federal, municipal at least, the author notes.

What level election Commission will deal with the accreditation and what documents will need to provide, later the CEC will decide in a separate decision, says Vyatkin. Most likely it will be the electoral Commission of the region, where you will need to provide a copy of the employment contract or employment record (please I certify that the journalist works for at least two months), tells a source close to the Duma’s leadership. According to him, accreditation is likely to give the right to work at any polling station within the same region.

Why change

Journalists have the right to work in the area during voting and counting, as well as to require from the Commission a copy of the Protocol on the basis of editorial license, reminds Vyatkin. According to him, this led to the fact that very often under the guise of journalists to the sites of people having to do with the media nothing. “They just prevented other journalists. It is necessary to stop those who abused the law,” he said.

Systematically this was done by the “Voice”, makes the argument in favor of the bill a source close to the leadership of the state Duma. She is regularly hired normal people who by agreement with the editors went to the polls and ‘ worked as observers, he said. “And then they reported about the alleged violations, and not as observers from the candidate, and how independent journalists who believe. While “the Voice” receives foreign funds. Hardly they spend it on real help to us,” says the source .

It is therefore important to enshrine in law that the accreditation needs to obtain those who are actually already some time working in the newsroom and not random people, explains the source. “Real journalists that did not hurt. For them actually changes nothing, — he insists. — To work in the CEC, for example, and so need to be accredited”. He added that the authors of the amendments do not change anything in the media before the election — it is only about the election day observation. The rights of journalists on election day does not change the law, he said. In addition, the media can still accredit to the election of any number of its employees as long as they conform to the requirements of the law, he adds.

The government wants to dramatically reduce the number of independent election observers, said the co-Chairman of movement “the Voice” Grigory Melkonyants. “Now in Russia there was no system of independent monitoring: NGOs can send observers or candidate / party, or from the media. In the first case, this means the actual dependence of the observers. Limiting the possibility of election observation in the status of representative of the media, the government sharply cut the number of public inspectors of the elections,” he says. According to him, the movement planned to use to monitor the upcoming elections as a freelance correspondent from the newspaper “Civil Voice” or other affiliate media free of charge, and money to pay their there is no movement. The amendments will also affect the media, as after accreditation they will not be able to change their correspondents, or their location on voting day, he said.

Member of the presidential Council on human rights, the head close to the Kremlin organizations ROIIP Igor Borisov claims that the amendments will not prevent the work of journalists, but will cut off those who under the guise of the media acted party observers. “In General, we see that the state Duma took the trend to regulate the presence of observers at the polling stations,” he says.

Readiness for elections

This year the state Duma passed a bill limiting the number of observers from parties and candidates at polling stations. Amendments to the bill of Communists made Pligin and Vyatkin, the Communists in the new form for the law to vote. Now every electoral Commission may enter no more than two observers from the candidate or party, and they can follow the voting and counting one by one, and the candidates are required three days prior to the date of the vote to send the election Commission a list of its observers. Previously the number of observers from the candidate or party was not limited. Vladimir Putin has already signed the document.

In recent years, the Duma election law changes, not only in connection with observation. Deputies from “United Russia” introduced to the lower house a bill for mandatory participation of candidates in the electoral debates. He including prohibiting candidates to send to the debates instead of their representatives. This, for example, will not be allowed to participate in the debate, the head of FBK Alexei Navalny: to be elected he might not like having a criminal record, but in the campaign of RPR-PARNAS Kostroma in 2015, successfully lobbied for the party on television. The bill passed first reading and will be discussed in the second meeting of the specialized Committee on 24 February.

A little later the deputies of LDPR introduced a bill prohibiting election candidates to use in campaign materials image of persons who are not candidates. Thus, United Russia will not be able to use the image of Vladimir Putin, and the opposition — pictures of Alexei Navalny. The project was adopted by the Duma in the first reading.

Amendments Vyatkina, in which he proposes to include new requirements for the press, were made at the end of December. They clarify the procedure for the organization and conduct of elections. In particular, the deputies ordered that contained in places of deprivation of freedom people do not have the right to elect and be elected, and “to exercise other electoral actions,” for example, to participate in the agitation.