Danko: Rules to Guide Online Campaigning Must Be Updated

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stock photo by TASR

Bratislava, April 15 (TASR) – Election campaigning rules in the online domain are not always clear and legislative changes are called for, representatives of parliamentary political parties and state administration concurred at their roundtable talks on Monday.

“We concurred that the contemporary era brings in new phenomena that the (electoral) state commission falls short in addressing,” claimed Parliamentary Chair Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) who chaired the talks.

A consensus was shaped at the roundtable that relevant legislation must be drafted with the help of the Government to address the issue. “I’ll reach out to the Prime Minister (Peter Pellegrini) and ask him to initiate such legislation,” added Danko.

“The truth of the matter is that the situation in the on-line environment has changed and the legislation needs to be capable of responding to this. In our experiences the legislative change is warranted because campaigning is often not exactly fair,” claimed MP Peter Pcolinsky (We Are Family), adding that rules governing on-line campaigning are not always clear.

What remains to be seen is whether the changes will apply only to paid advertisement and sponsored posts on social networks. “It will be a subject of discussion, as to where the limits are drawn and what is considered effective also in terms of oversight,” said Pcolinsky.

MP Eduard Heger (OLaNO) underlined that sufficiently comprehensive documentation and analysis is needed as a basis for the legislative change. “At this stage, we’re still debating only ideas,” he claimed.

Also important in Heger’s view is legal analysis by lawyers to determine whether some penalties won’t fly in the face of the law or the Slovak Constitution. “If someone wants to cheat, they should be punished – but to what extent is up to lawyers to decide,” added Heger.