NEWS

Broadcast watchdog steps in

The National Broadcast Council (ESR), a state watchdog, yesterday stepped into the election campaign and warned television and radio stations to ensure the «objective, multifaceted and equal presentation of facts, political issues and opinions of all political parties.» This followed a deluge of some 90 urgent bulletins on television stations after Foreign Minister George Papandreou said last week that he would stand for election as PASOK’s next leader. New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday visited the ESR offices and called on the body to ensure that all parties, especially smaller ones, get an equal opportunity to air their views, the chairman of ESR, Ioannis Laskaridis, said. In its directive, ESR noted that in recent days there were «continuous urgent news bulletins without reason.» It said that during election campaigns issues must be dealt with in a clear and moderate way so as to achieve equality and polyphony. It stressed that care must be taken in presenting opinion polls, such as noting clearly the companies that carried them out and on whose account, and that the margin of error must be presented. ESR also wants call-in polls by radio or television stations to stop and asked that «man in the street» comments not be seen as opinion polls. The Interior Ministry’s central multi-party electoral committee will meet today to discuss guidelines for dividing broadcast time among parties. The ministry said yesterday that candidates were not allowed to use banners, plastic flags and posters.