You will recall I wrote about Ukraine’s invitation to external bodies to send election observers for the forthcoming elections back in March.
The Council of Europe/PACE has stated it will send 41 observers under the supervision of Andreas Gross of Switzerland. Mr Gross has written two rather interesting papers over the past 4 years relating to democracy in Europe for those who may want to know more about him.
Undoubtedly 41 observers is the tip of the iceberg, as with observers from NGOs and other entities, you can anticipate about 2000 official monitors or more I suspect.
It is unclear whether they will be long term observers, studying media time in the run-up to the elections themselves, or short term observers monitoring the actual elections only. Maybe a bit of both?
Anyway, it seems some readers have decided to monitor the media themselves, as I suggested back in March, to assess for themselves, free and fair media coverage of those partaking.
I have also commented recently in several posts about the extremely aggressive and 24/7 media time Natalia Korolevska is getting. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing that an opposition party leader and her party are getting so much air time, she is after all, fighting for her political life having effectively been excommunicated by Ms Tymoshenko and the BYuT despite being a loyal and high-flying supporter of Ms Tymoshenko for many, many years.
Needless to say, she will need to be very active to gain 5% of the national vote in October to remain in political life.
However, one wonders, should her relentless media machine continue to take the same amount of media time, just how much time will be left for other parties. Of course it is impossible to guarantee the exact same amount of media time across so many channels and broadcasting stations, but for the elections to be deemed free and fair, that amount of media time should be fairly close for all parties and personalities in the race.
So far, not even the current government comes close to the media time Ms Korolevska is buying and this is before the official 90 day electioneering begins. Will PACE or any other official observers take this into account? Will they count only the media time within the official 90 day electioneering period and ignore what is seemingly a media war of attrition on voters by Ms Korolevska that has been underway for a month or more and shows no sign of abating?
Further, how do you monitor the “United Opposition” media time when it is made up of numerous parties, some of which are unwilling members of this coalition and have a different message to others in this unholy alliance that they wish to convey to the voting public?
Maybe it is better to simply stick to noting small election violations, such as political photographs or portraits on walls within voting centres that have no effect on elections (but are recorded quite properly as a violation) to those major violations such as vote rigging and vote buying as engaged in by all major parties historically that can change the course of an election, but long term observations are a necessity.
Can BYuT media time be counted as Front for Change time or CPP time all being in the “United Opposition? Should they all be given the same amount(ish) of media time thus giving the United Opposition more time than other opposition and majority parties?
How to count the media time given?
Personally I will continue to count individual party time, particularly as there is no guarantee the “United Opposition” will hold together until the elections are over (although I think it probably will as things stand today).
Well, I will count individual party time if they ever get the chance to get on air. For now, more and more Korolevska seems to be what is ahead.