Head of the Russian Electoral Commission Alexander Veshnyakov has discussed issues relating to legislation on election campaigns in Russia as meeting with heads of national media outlets. Veshnyakov noted that Russia's electoral legislation needs to be amended, with the law on political parties coming into force. He recalled that the State Duma (Russian parliament's lower house) had already adopted in the first reading a bill guaranteeing citizens' electoral rights, drafted by his commission. The new law clearly discerns electoral propaganda and coverage of election campaigns. Information may be provided by government authorities, electoral commissions, and mass-media. At the same time, Veshnyakov stressed, the law prohibits electoral propaganda before the candidates are formally registered, as well as hidden media propaganda. The amendments are first of all aimed at creating equal opportunities for all candidates. Mikhail Fedotov, secretary of the Journalists' Union, presented, in his turn, a number of specific proposals guaranteeing citizens' electoral rights. He thinks that Russian media need to be protected from administrative pressure during election campaigns.
Forest fires in Siberia have been raging for three months already. They have become a disaster not only of Russian, but of global scale. The fires have already scorched 12 million hectares of land