Comelec introduces rules on campaigning in cyberspace

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Comelec Seal
Comelec Seal

MANILA (17-Jan-2013/PNA) – The Commission on Elections has introduced the first rules on campaigning online or over the internet.

This is apparently in anticipation of candidates for the May 13, 2013 using cyberspace to promote themselves to the electorate during the campaign period,

Based on Comelec Resolution No. 9615, the Comelec will only allow the following sizes for online materials for each candidate.

The sizes: medium (300 width x 250 height); square pop-up (250×250); vertical rectangle (240×400); large rectangle (336×280); rectangle (180×150); 3:1 rectangle (300×100);

Pop-under (7.20×300); full banner (468×60); half banner (234×60); micro bar (88×31); button 1 (120×90); button 2 (120×60); vertical banner (120×240); square button (125×125);

Leaderboard (728×90); wide skyscrapers (160×600); skyscraper (120×600); and half-page ad (300×600).

The poll body added that online advertisements shall “not be published more than three times in a week per website” during the campaign period.

“For this purpose, the exhibition or display of the online advertisement for any length of time, regardless of frequency, within a 24-hour period, shall be construed as one instance of publication,” the Comelec said.

On the other hand, the poll body will be imposing stricter rules on campaigning using the broadcast media.

The same resolution stated that the number of minutes allowable to each candidate shall now be counted in total and not per television or radio station just like in the past.

For each national candidate, the commission said candidates’ advertisements must not be more than a combined total of 120 minutes for TV and 180 minutes for radio.

As for local bets, TV advertisements must not be more than a collective total of 60 minutes and 90 minutes for radio.

On the other hand, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. said they are also looking at implementing new rules on “tandem ads” or those that featuring a party-list and a candidate.

“Tandem ads (party-list + candidate) / joint ads (multiple candidates in 1 ad) will be charged to airtime of each candidate,” he added.

Meanwhile, the poll body said the appearances and guestings on a bona fide newscast, interview, documentary that can be considered incidental to the presentation of the subjects covered by the news shall not be considered campaign propaganda.

“To determine whether the appearance in a program is bona fide, the broadcast station must show that prior approval of the commission was secured, and that candidates and parties were afforded equal opportunities to promote their candidacy,” said the resolution.

For published or printed election materials, the poll body said the maximum size of print advertisements remains to be 1/4 page in broadsheets and 1/2 page in tabloids.

“Print advertisements shall not be published more than three times a week per newspaper, magazine, or other publication during the campaign period,” the Comelec added.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, violations of the rules and regulations, based on the provisions of the Fair Election Act, shall constitute an election offense which carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment as well as removal of right to vote and run for public office, as per the Omnibus Election Code.

The campaign period for national candidates and party-lists will start on February 12 while local bets will begin on March 29. (PNA)

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