Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission said on June 4 that bTV was to be fined for breaking the law by announcing exit poll results more than an hour before voting closed on the country’s European Parliament election day.
BTV released the results of an exit poll by Alpha Research at 6.56pm on May 26, the commission confirmed. Voting ended at 8pm.
The Electoral Code forbids the announcement of results of public opinion polling in connection with the election in any form from 24 hours before election day until the end of election day in Bulgaria.
The size of the fine was not announced. Bulgarian law provides for fines from 2000 to 5000 leva (about 1000 to 2500 euro).
Earlier, the Central Election Commission announced that TV Evrokom was to be fined for, on May 23 – three days before the election – reporting the findings of an Alpha Research poll without complying with statutory requirements that the sponsor and sources of funding of the poll be reported too.
Bulgaria’s Electoral Code includes rules on how opinion polls must be reported during the official campaign period, specifying the disclosure of information about how the poll was funded and setting out the relative size of the text of the disclosure, in the case of print and online media, as well as how this information should be presented in audio and visual broadcasts.
The Central Election Commission also ordered Nova Broadcasting Group fined for breaking the rules, also by – on May 23 – reporting the poll by Alpha Research without complying with the statutory provisions on disclosure.
The size of the fines imposed on TV Evrokom and Nova were not disclosed, but similarly, the law provides for fines from 2000 to 5000 leva at first offence.