Egypt Independent

Electoral commission approval needed to air election campaign ads



Egyptian authorities on Monday said candidates and parties vying for seats in the upcoming parliamentary elections must obtain the approval of the Supreme Electoral Commission if they wish to broadcast campaign advertisements on Egyptian television channels.   

The Supreme Electoral Commission on Sunday set a number of rules for campaigns for the parliamentary elections slated for 28 November, and threatened to prevent violators from participating in the elections.

The commission warned candidates against tackling the private lives of any of the candidates or undermining national unity. It also urged them to refrain from using religious logos.

President of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union Osama al-Sheikh said he has not banned any promotional campaigns, adding that paid ads only need the approval of the Supreme Electoral Commission.

Al-Sheikh said advertisement content will be reviewed by the media performance monitoring committee which publishes a periodical report detailing violations.

Egyptian state television and the private Al-Mehwar satellite television station have both refused to broadcast promotional advertisements for the Wafd opposition party’s parliamentary candidates.

According to Wafd Party spokesman Mohamed Mostafa Shardi, the Dream, Rotana and Panorama Drama satellite television channels have also refused to run ads for the party, even though Egyptian state television is currently broadcasting campaign promotions for the ruling National Democratic Party.

"For a private television station such as Al-Mehwar to refuse to broadcast our campaign ads is one thing," he said. "But it's another thing for state television–which is paid for by taxpayers–to refuse to run our ads."

"It's an indication that the upcoming parliamentary elections will not be dealt with in a fair manner," Shardi added.

According to Shardi, the ad campaign promotes membership in the party and includes campaign slogans such as “Competition is in your own best interest,” and “Change is real–Join the Wafd."

Wafd Party officials reportedly plan on holding a meeting to discuss the issue, and will recommend that a general assembly be convened to review the party’s decision to field candidates in next month's parliamentary elections.

Observers say the warning issued by the commission is intended to discourage the Muslim Brotherhood from using its traditional logo of "Islam is the Solution," as the regime in Egypt is seeking to prevent a scenario similar to what happened in the 2005 parliamentary election where the Brotherhood won 88 seats in parliament, or 20 percent of its seats.

The Brotherhood is contesting 30 percent of parliamentary seats in this year's election.