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Political pluralism and electoral campaigns

Pluralism in election time

Within the framework of the missions of warranty of pluralism in election time which are entrusted to him by article 16 of the law of September 30th, 1986, the Council enacted in the deliberation n° 2011-1 of January 4th, 2011 the specific rules applicable to the treatment of the electoral news and in particular to the access to the antenna of the personalities. 

Each electoral campaign in addition causes the édiction by the Council of a complementary recommendation. It is about a text fixing certain rules complementary and specific to the election which the audio-visual mediums will have to respect in particular in the treatment of the electoral news. It also fixes the list of the editors held to transmit each week to the Council their statements of antenna and speaking time.

The date of coming into effect of the recommendation is scheduled by the Council: it can be very upstream of the date of the poll (as for the presidential campaign of 2007, where the recommendation of the Council started to apply on December 1st, 2006 , that is to say nearly five months before the first turn) or nearer of this one.

The recommendation applies to all the radios subjected to the control of the Council, since they treat electoral campaign in their emissions. All the emissions are concerned (newspapers and magazines of information, emissions of entertainment, talk shows,….)

The Council carries out throughout each electoral campaign very regular and frequent examinations of the antenna and speaking times raised on the radios mainly concerned because of their audience and their antenna devoted to the countryside.

Rules framing the access of the candidates or the parties to the antenna of the media

The principle of equity

The principle of equity implies that the services of radio allocate with the candidates (or with the political parties) and with their supports of the antenna or speaking times by taking account of their representativeness and their effective implication in the countryside. 

Thus, the appreciation of the concept of equity is based on two series of elements:

  • the representativeness of the candidates which takes into account, in particular, results of the candidate or political training to the most recent elections;
  • capacity to concretely express its implication in the countryside: organization of public meetings, participation in debates, designation of a financial agent, and more generally any initiative allowing to make available of the public the elements of the program of the candidate.

The principle of equality

The principle of equality constitutes a specificity of the presidential campaign. It results directly from the legislative texts and lawful relating to the election of the President of the Republic which envisage an equality between the candidates as from the beginning of the official countryside (decree n° 2001-213 of March 8th, 2001, art.15). The principle of equality implies that the their support and speaking and antenna times of the candidates are equal.

Leading rules of treatment of the countryside

Provisions appear in the deliberation of the Council concerning the need for making prevail measurement and honesty in the leading treatment and the use of extracts of declaration of the candidates. In addition, until the date of opening of the official countryside, the journalists or chroniclers who are candidates can intervene on the antennas provided that their remarks cannot have incidence likely to attack the equality of the candidates in front of the means of propaganda and to the sincerity of the poll. They must abstain from being expressed on the waves in the performance of their duty as from the opening of the official countryside and to the poll closure.

Other provisions

The deliberation of January 4th, 2011 understands also other provisions concerning in particular:

  • prohibition to diffuse advertisements likely to distort the sincerity of the poll: are likely beings considered as the such advertisements comprising of the references to candidates or challenges of the poll. In addition, the editors must take care not to diffuse advertisements in favour of literary works whose author is directly concerned with the election or whose title or contents is related to the challenges of this election;
  • provisions applicable to the day before and the day of the poll:  the diffusion of matter in electoral matter and elements of survey or results of the poll are prohibited the day before and the day poll to the vote closure. These provisions result in particular from the electoral code (see the L52-1 articles and L52-2 of the electoral code).


On September 10th, 2015, the Council made public 15 proposals which it considered desirable to implement from the point of view of the future electoral deadlines, in order to better in the future reconcile the freedom of communication and the respect of political pluralism in the audio-visual mediums.

On the basis of its observation relating to the polls which were held since 2012, the Council had announced in the month September 2014 to into force engage a reflection on the adequacy of the legislative texts and lawful with the current challenges of communication of the electoral campaigns. He heard during following months, within the framework of his working group “Pluralism and community life”, a large number of representatives of the public authorities, the editors of radio and television, of the political parties, as well as experts, to collect their contributions.

These proposals relate in particular to the election of the President of the Republic, the elections primary, the period known as “of reserve”, the modes of enforcement of the principle of equity and the audio-visual campaigns official.


Consult the 15 proposals of the CSA


See also:

Pluralism in election time on television

Learn more

Key dates

  • 1955 - First broadcast simultaneously on radio and TV official countryside at the time of the legislative elections

  • 1965 - First broadcast simultaneously on radio and TV official countryside for the presidential election

  • November 12th, 1969 - Adoption by the Board of directors of the ORTF of a directive which poses the principle of a pluralist access to the antenna

  • 1982 - Creation of the High ranking authority of the audio-visual communication (HACA)

  • 2000 - Definition by the Superior council of audio-visual of the “principle of reference as regards pluralism”