KNAB chief suggests banning paid internet campaign ads a month before elections

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) chief Jekabs Straume suggests that paid political advertising should be banned a month prior to the elections.

Straume explained at the Saeima defense, interior affairs and corruption prevention committee today that ahead of the 13th Saeima elections KNAB launched cooperation with the holders of the popular social networks, but their attitude to KNAB’s requests differed. Cooperation was complicated with Google and Youtube, but quite easy with Facebook. “We received all information that we were interested in and still continue to receive this information also after the parliament elections,” said Straume.

Speaking about the future, Straume said that discussions should be launched on restrictions for paid pre-election campaigns on the internet. For example, paid online advertisements could be banned a month prior to the elections.

"As internet technologies are developing fast, there is emphasis on paid online campaigning, therefore some restrictions should be considered like it is on TV campaigns. These restrictions would not restrict the person’s rights to campaign, just these could not be paid advertisements," said Straume.

The current election law bans paid political advertisements on TV a month before the elections as well as provides for restrictions on use of administrative resources during the pre-election period, such as bans on paid advertising of public or municipal organizations and companies 30 days before the elections, if the ads feature any candidates in the coming elections or extol performance of any specific political party.

Also on the election day and one day before the elections advertising and campaigning is banned in public places, press, public electronic communication networks, including internet.

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