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    MASS MEDIA COVERAGE OF PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES DEPENDS ON THEIR POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE - ANALYST

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    Moscow, 14 February. /RIA Novosti/. Konstantin Simonov, director of the Russian Center for the Analysis of Political Situation stated to RIA Novosti that mass media coverage of pre-election campaigns of Russian presidential nominees "was definitely in proportion to their political significance and actually achieved results of their previous activity." According to him, any attempts to file claims against actions of the President "were absurd and unjustified".

    While talking about legal aspects of the issue the analyst pointed out that the meeting between Vladimir Putin and his proxies was a pre-election event of the candidate the coverage of which was part of the informational support of the elections.

    Mr. K. Simonov stated that according to the applicable election legislation, organizations engaged in mass media coverage shall be independent in their activity to inform voters and were entitled without approval of the candidate, without execution of an agreement with him/her to determine the volume of coverage and broadcast timing. He also added that those organizations and not the candidate were responsible for compliance with the procedure to inform voters.

    The analyst mentioned that the majority of opponents of Vladimir Putin were actively using mass media opportunities to lawfully inform voters. Taking into account the lack of alternatives they chose the tactics of massive use of informational events such as the sudden "disappearance" of Ivan Rybkin, further rift in the management of Rodina and "open letters" of Irina Hakamada.

    According to him, program statements of presidential nominees are often broadcast live by mass media. The politologist added that on top of that Putin's opponents solidly booked airtime in all information and analytical programs.

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