Parties sparing no expense on videos and advertisements on Facebook in the election campaign

The election campaign, which again has started prematurely, is carried out mostly with videos and sponsored contents on the social networks, shows CIVIL’s monitoring. CIVIL’s team on monitoring the financing of the election campaign, in the period 20-28 June, has registered 220 political events for which the parties have spent money within or outside the frameworks of the paid political advertising. One-tenth of the events have taken place before the official start of the campaign on June 24. One-third of the party gatherings that have been registered so far have been held before the official start of the election campaign.

Almost all parties have had party promotional activities before the start of the campaign. The monitoring has registered a total of 20 such events, of which nine have been public gatherings, and which have been organized by SDSM, DUI, VMRO-DPMNE and the Alliance for Albanians. Five political party videos have been launched before the official start of the campaign.

Videos are the most frequent material for party promotion so far in the campaign. More than one-third of the total registered pre-election activities (more than 36 percent, or 80 different ones) are videos, starting from videos for promotion of party pre-election messages and up to videos with recordings of speeches, meetings with citizens or statements, recorded for party pre-election needs.

The greatest part of the pre-election activities in these past eight days has by far been carried out online. So far, 66 events, or 30 percent of them are sponsored contents on the social networks.

In the past eight days, 41 rallies have been registered or other public gatherings organized by a political party. They account for 18.6 percent of the total pre-election activity, and distribution of promotional branded printed material identifying the political party, most often at public appearances, but also at homes, accounts for about 12 percent.

The monitoring has so far registered 10 party videos for a “black campaign”, or for slandering the political opponent, which account for 4.5 percent of the total pre-election activities. Of them, seven have been promoted by VMRO-DPMNE, one by SDSM, and two by unknown. One of them is directed against the partnership of SDSM and BESA, and the other against VMRO-DPMNE. Four cases of distribution of printed material for a “black campaign” have also been registered. In eight cases, the monitoring team has noted hidden political advertising and campaigning, and in five cases advertising outside the legal framework.

Most of the 220 registered events have been organized by SDSM, 88 different events, and second is VMRO-DPMNE with 61 events. DUI has organized 18 pre-election activities, the Alliance for Albanians 14, and all other monitored parties less than ten events.

So far, 17 contents have been promoted without revealing who has ordered them, and most of them have been sponsored contents on the social networks. Of them, 9 have been directed against SDSM, one against SDSM/BESA and one against VMRO-DPMNE.

The team for monitoring of the financing of the election campaign has so far registered four claims of vote-buying, all published in media close to the opposition, in which the ruling SDSM is accused of pre-election vote-buying.

On June 21, TV Alfa showed material in which there is talk about alleged vote-buying by SDSM in Prilep. Party activists, using an official van of a state home for elderly care, outside working hours load bags in one of SDSM’s headquarters in the city. Such allegations were published also for Suto Orizari, where supposedly an activist had been offering citizens “humanitarian aid” in the amount of 1,700 denars if they vote for SDSM. The journalist refers to videos posted on the social networks, the authenticity and credibility of which could not be determined.

On June 22, the portal “Republika” published an article in which SDSM is accused of “handing out bribes to households” in Gjorche Petrov, with a picture of a man carrying a package, as well as a vehicle full of packages. The article was shown on several other portals.

CIVIL’s monitoring team registered the latest allegation of vote-buying on June 24, on the first day of the campaign. The portal “Ekonomski lider” published an article in which SDSM is accused of vote-buying of voters of Roma nationality in Gostivar on the first day of the campaign. Two photos were published that show people waiting in line to receive some kind of packages, and also a video in which no abuses can be seen. The article was downloaded by several media outlets.

The monitoring in the past eight days has registered also one case of misuse of public resources. On June 22, holder of DUI’s candidate list for the fifth constituency, Talat Xhaferi, according to the reports of an observer of CIVIL, had appeared at a party meeting with citizens in Rostushe with an official vehicle of the Parliament.

CIVIL Monitoring Team

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