Bulgaria’s 2023 local elections: Three TV stations fined for breaking rules on exit polls

The Central Election Commission (CEC) is fining Bulgaria’s three major television stations for breaking election law that forbids disclosure of exit poll results before 8pm on election day.

The precise size of the fines was not disclosed, but election law provides that the fine for breaking the law regarding exit polls may be from 2000 to 5000 leva (about 1000 to 2500 euro).

On November 5, the second round of Bulgaria’s 2023 mayoral elections, Nova Televizia broadcast exit poll results at 7.40pm, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television at just before 7.42pm and bTV at just before 7.43pm.

The complaint to the CEC was lodged by statutory broadcast regulator the Council for Electronic Media.

The November 5 vote was not the first time television stations have broadcast exit poll results in violation of the law, while for years, some media have sought to skirt the law by posting exit poll results on social media throughout election day.

In two other cases decided by the CEC on November 8, two media companies were not fined because the CEC failed to produce the required majority.

In one case, a media company that posted exit poll results on YouTube, the vote was six for and six against a fine, while in the other, the vote was seven against and five for.

The CEC decisions on the cases are subject to appeal in the Supreme Administrative Court within three days of being announced.

(Photo: Txo)

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