JUFREX: A comparative study on regulation of political advertising

posted on 04 March, 2021   (public)

The necessity and complexity of political advertising regulation: reflections on the situation in South-East Europe

As part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe action “Freedom of expression and freedom of the media in South-East Europe (JUFREX 2)”*, a recent study authored by Jean-François Furnémont and Deirdre Kevin provided reflections and recommendations regarding the regulation of political advertising in South-East Europe.

Based on online regional round tables and a questionnaire circulated among regulatory authorities, the study presents the standards developed by the European Union and the Council of Europe and an overview of the state of play in selected relevant EU countries (France, Ireland, United Kingdom**, Italy and Slovenia) before concluding with recommendations aimed at supporting the development of appropriate policies.

Some of the key recommendations provided by the authors:

  • The need for a political advertising legal framework;
  • Rules for election coverage driven by principles of balance, impartiality and equality;
  • Paid political advertising limited to election campaign periods and in its amount;
  • Equal and non-discriminatory treatment of all political parties and candidates;
  • Political advertising clearly and broadly defined;
  • Political advertising properly identified as such;
  • Establishment of taskforces among media regulators to enhance cooperation and to follow best practices;
  • Engaging at the European level in initiatives and debates around online political advertising.


Regulation of political advertising: A comparative study with reflections on the situation in South-East Europe by Jean-François Furnémont and Deirdre Kevin

*Embedded in the Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019–2022 (HF) and builds upon the results achieved during a previous regional joint action “Reinforcing Judicial  Expertise on Freedom of Expression and the Media in South-East Europe” (JUFREX 1, 2016–2019).

**Still part of the European Union as the time of the study

Source: Council of Europe

Further information on Political Advertising: 

  • Ofcom (UK) has recently published a report on transparency of political advertising on Facebook and Google (see EPRA news).
  • The Committee of Experts on Media Environment and Reform of the Council of Europe (MSI-REF) is preparing a draft recommendation on election communication and media coverage of electoral campaigns.
  • As part of the European Democracy Action Plan, the European Commission will propose a legislation to ensure greater transparency in the area of sponsored political content with support measures and guidance for political parties and Member States. A public consultation is currently ongoing until 2 April.