Media regulations: Italy
Law n. 515, of 10 of December
1993, on Discipline in the electoral campaigns for the election of the House of
Deputies and the Senate of the Republic
“Gazzetta Ufficiale” (Official Gazette) of the Republic of Italy n. 292, S.O.
1. Access to the means of communication
1. Within 5 days of the calling of the election for the Chamber of Deputies and
the Senate, the parliamentary commission for the supervision of radio and
television services provides to the public service broadcaster the regulations
necessary to guarantee, in conditions of equality of treatment, suitable spaces
for advertising on the public service broadcaster, as well as access to such
spaces for political lists and groups of candidates at regional level, and for
parties or significant political movements at national level. The commission
also directly regulates the electoral surveys and the services or programmes of
electoral information of the public service broadcaster during the election
period, so as to guarantee equal treatment, completeness and impartiality for
all parties and movements competing in the electoral campaign.
5. From the date of the calling of an election to the Chamber of Deputies and
the Senate to the end of the vote, the presence of candidates, representatives
of parties and political movements and members of the government, regional
councils and local authorities in current affairs programmes with responsibility
attributable to a specific journalistic publication registered as indicated in
paragraph 1 of article 10 of law number 223 of 6 August 1990 must be limited
exclusively to the need to guarantee completeness and the impartiality of
information. Such a presence is forbidden in all other programmes. Paragraph
thus modified from article 5 of law number 28 of 22 February 2000.
5a. The regulation of this article is applied to supplementary elections,
limited to the relevant region or regions. Additional paragraph from article 1a,
of bill number 131 of 13 May 1999, in the integrated text of the relevant law of
2. Electoral advertising in newspapers and magazines and on radio and
3. Other forms of advertising
1. From the same date as stated in article 1, paragraph 2, the electoral
advertising for political lists, groups of candidates or individual candidates
through leaflets and posters is accepted within the limits allowed by law number
212 of 4 April 1956, and successive modifications.
2. All publications of electoral advertising, whether written material, printed
or photographic material, radio and television broadcasts, tape-recordings and
any other type of divulgation must indicate he name of the buyer responsible.
3. Newspapers, radio and television stations, printers and whoever else is asked
to produce material or provide services which could be used for any form of
electoral advertising, including consultancy and intermediation, are required to
ascertain that the relevant requests have been made directly by the
administrative secretary or the delegates responsible for advertising, or else
by the individual candidates or their mandate holders, who are required to issue
invoices. In the circumstances set out in paragraph 4 they are required to
acquire a copy of the authorisation of the candidate or of his mandate holder.
4. While adhering to that set out in paragraph 2, the instruments of electoral
advertising of one or more candidates, produced or commissioned by trade unions
or social or professional organisations, must be authorised by the candidates or
by their mandate holders. The cost of such forms of advertising is calculated
for the purposes of being shared according to the expenditure limit stated in
4. Communication with the voters
1. As soon as the first-past-the-post constituencies are determined, and each
time they are reviewed, the councils whose territorial jurisdiction covers more
than one such constituency must send a letter to each voter specifying the
first-past-the-post constituency, both for the Chamber of Deputies and for the
Senate, in which the voter will be able to exercise his/her right to vote and
sign for the presentation of the candidatures.
5. Ban on institutional advertising (ABROGATED)
6. Dissemination of opinion polls (ABROGATED)
Law 22nd of February 2000, n. 28 on Provisions for equal access to the means
of communication during electoral and referenda campaigns and for political
Communication Published in the “Gazzetta Ufficiale” (Official Gazette) of the
Republic of Italy n. 43 of 22 February 2000
(Aim and area of application)
1. This law promotes and regulates access to the means of communication for
political communication, with the aim of guaranteeing equal treatment and
impartiality for all political subjects.
2. This law also promotes and regulates, to the same end, access to the means of
communication during the campaigns for elections to the European Parliament, for
political, regional and administrative elections and for every referendum.
(Political communication on radio and television)
1. Radio and television broadcasters must guarantee impartiality and fairness in
access to information and political communication for all political subjects.
2. Political communication on radio and television is defined for the purposes
of this law as the broadcasting on radio and television of programmes containing
political opinions and appraisals. The provisions of the succeeding paragraphs
are applied to political communication. They are not applied to news broadcasts.
3. Equality of conditions is guaranteed in the presentation of opinions and
political positions on political platforms, in debates, at round tables, in the
presentation in debate of political programs, in question and answer sessions,
in interviews and in any other transmission in which the presentation of
opinions and political beliefs takes on a significant role.
4. The broadcasting of programmes of political communication on radio and
television is obligatory for national radio broadcasters and for national
television broadcasters with the requirement of providing information that they
transmit clearly. The participation in such programmes is in any case free.
5. The Parliamentary Commission for the supervision of radio and television
services, hereafter referred to as “Commission”, and the Authority for
guarantees in communication, hereafter referred to as “Authority”, subject to
consultation between them, and each acting in accordance with its
responsibilities, establish the rules for the implementation of the regulations
stated in this article.
(Self-managed political messages)
1. Radio and television broadcasters, which offer spaces for free political
communication in accordance with article 2, paragraph 3 can transmit selfmanaged
political messages, free or paid for, hereafter referred to as “messages”.
2. The transmission of messages is optional for private broadcasters and
obligatory for the public broadcaster, which arranges to make the necessary
technical structures for the creation of said messages available to the
3. The messages contain the reasoned statement of a programme or of a political
opinion and last for between one and three minutes for the television
broadcasters and between thirty and ninety seconds for the radio broadcasters,
as chosen by the applicant. The messages cannot interrupt other programmes, have
an autonomous place in the programming and are to be transmitted in suitable
programmes, whose position in the programming is to be communicated by each
broadcaster to the Commission or the Authority with at least fifteen days
The messages are not considered in the calculation of the advertising ceilings
provided for by the law.
4. For each national radio or television broadcaster the spaces for the messages
cannot exceed 25% of the effective total duration of programmes of political
communication transmitted in accordance with article 2, paragraph 3 of the same
broadcaster or on the same network in the same week or the same time slot. A
maximum of two programmes for each day of programming is allowed.
5. Local radio and television broadcasters which intend to transmit paid-for
selfmanaged political messages must offer spaces for free political
communication as stated in article 2 for a period of time equal to that of the
messages actually broadcast, to a maximum of four. No political subject can
broadcast more than two messages per day per broadcaster.
6. The spaces for the messages are offered on the condition of equal treatment
of the political subjects whose election is considered in article 1, paragraph
2. The designation of the spaces in each programme is done by the drawing of
Unused spaces belonging to a political subject cannot be offered to another
political subject. Each message can be transmitted only once in each programme.
Nobody can broadcast more than one message in the same programme. Each message
contains the denomination “free self-managed message” or “paid for selfmanaged
message” and an indication of the paying for subject.
7. The national broadcasters can transmit only free self-managed political
messages. Local broadcasters offer a discount of 50% on the prices normally
stipulated for advertising in the same time slots.
8. The Authority and the Commission, each operating within its respective
jurisdiction, fix the criteria of rotation for the use, during each month, of
the spaces for selfmanaged messages mentioned in previous paragraphs and adopt
any further provisions necessary for the implementation of the regulation
provided for in this article.
(Political communication on radio and television and self-managed messages on
radio and television during election campaigns)
1. From the moment an election is called political communication on radio and
television takes the following form: political platforms, debates, round tables,
the presentation in debate of candidates and of political programmes, interviews
and any other form which permits a comparison between political positions and
the competing candidates.
2. The Commission and the Authority, subject to consultation between them, and
each acting in accordance with its responsibilities, determine the designation
of the spaces among the political subjects according to the following criteria:
a. in the period between the date of the calling of the election and the date of
the presentation of the candidates the spaces are distributed between the
political subjects present in the assemblies to be re-elected as well as between
those not represented in said assemblies provided that they are represented in
the European Parliament or in one of the two chambers of Parliament.
b. in the period between the date of the presentation of the candidates and the
date of the closure of the electoral campaign the spaces are distributed
according to the principle of equal opportunity between the coalitions and
between the competing lists which have fielded candidates in constituencies
which compose at least one quarter of the total number of eligible voters,
except for the possible presence of political subjects representing recognized
minority languages, bearing in mind the electoral system to be applied and the
territorial sphere of reference.
c. in the period between the first and the second vote in the case of a second
ballot, the spaces are distributed equally between the two competing candidates.
d. for a referendum, the spaces are distributed equally between those for and
those against the referendum.
3. From the date of the presentation of the candidates for the election as
stated in article 1, paragraph 2, national radio and television broadcasters can
transmit selfmanaged messages for the non-contradictory presentation of
political lists and programmes, in accordance with the conditions established by
the Commission and the Authority on the basis of the following criteria:
a. the spaces for the messages are distributed equally among the different
political subjects, also with reference to the time slots of transmission.
b. the messages are organised in a self-managed way, are transmitted without
payment and must last for a period sufficient to permit the presentation of a
political programme or a political opinion, and in any case last, at the choice
of the applicant, between one and three minutes for television broadcasters and
between thirty and ninety seconds for radio broadcasters.
c. the messages cannot interrupt other programmes, or be interrupted themselves,
have an autonomous position in the programming and are transmitted in suitable
programmes with a maximum of four programmes per day.
d. the messages are not considered in the calculation of the advertising
ceilings provided for by the law.
e. each message can be transmitted only once in each programme.
f. no political subject can broadcast more than two messages per day.
e. each message contains the denomination “self-managed message” and an
indication of the paying for subject.
4. The transmission of self-managed messages as stated in paragraph 3 is
obligatory for the public broadcaster, which arranges to make the necessary
technical structures for the creation of said messages available to the
5. Local radio and television broadcasters which agree to transmit without
payment self-managed messages, in the terms and with the conditions stated in
3, will receive a reimbursement from the State in the measure defined by 31
January every year with a decree from the Ministry of Communication in agreement
with the Treasury. At least one third of the total amount set aside annually is
designated for radio broadcasters. Initially, the reimbursement for each
self-managed message is 12,000 lire for radio broadcasters and 40,000 lire for
television broadcasters, regardless of the duration of the message. The amount
set aside each year is distributed among the regions and the autonomous
provinces of Trento and Bolzano in proportion to the number of citizens on the
electoral lists in each region and autonomous province. The reimbursement is
made within the ninety days after the conclusion of the electoral operations for
the spaces actually used and jointly certified by the broadcaster and the
political subject, within the limit of available resources, by the region which
uses, for the investigative proceedings and the management of the spaces offered
by the broadcaster, the regional communication committee or, where such a body
has not yet been set up,
by the regional committee for radio and television services. In the
Trentino-Alto Adige region the reimbursement is made by the autonomous provinces
which use, for the investigative proceedings, the provincial committees for
radio and television services until the setting up of the new bodies provided
for in paragraph 13 of article 1 of law number 249 of 31 July 1997.
6. For the broadcasters as stated in paragraph 5 a maximum of six of the
programmes as stated in paragraph 3 letter c per day are allowed. Each political
subject can have a maximum of one message per day on the same broadcaster.
The Authority distributes equally the spaces for the messages between the
political subjects, also with reference to the transmission time slots, and
fixes the total number of messages to distribute between the applying political
subjects in relation to the resources available in each region, using the
relevant regional communication committees or, where they have not yet been set
up, the regional committees for radio and television services.
7. Local radio and television broadcasters which agree to transmit free
self-managed messages in accordance with paragraphs 5 and 6, in the terms of and
with the conditions stated in paragraph 3, have the right to broadcast paid for
messages, up to a maximum of two per day for each political subject, under the
conditions set out in paragraph 7 of article 3 and according to the conditions
stated in letters b to g inclusive in paragraph 3 of the present article. The
total time given to the broadcast of paid-for self-managed messages must be, by
law, equal to the time given to the broadcast of free self-managed messages in
the same week.
8. Local and national radio and television broadcasters inform the Authority,
within five days after the date stated in paragraph 1, the position in the
programming of the programmes. Until the electoral operations have been
completed, each successive modification must be communicated to the same
Authority at least five days in advance.
9. From the date of the calling of the election to the closure of the election
campaign the transmission on radio or television of messages of propaganda,
publicity or political communication, however denominated, is allowed
exclusively according to the regulations of this article.
10. For referenda the regulations concerning the broadcast of political
communication and self-managed messages stated in the previous paragraphs are
applied from the date of the calling of the referendum.
11. The Commission and the Authority, subject to consultation between them, and
each acting in accordance with its responsibilities, establish the territorial
broadcasting limit mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, bearing in mind the
importance of the consultation in the national territory.
(Information programmes on radio and television)
1. The Commission and the Authority, subject to consultation between them, and
each acting in accordance with its responsibilities, define within five days of
the calling of an election the specific criteria which, until the end of voting,
the public broadcaster and the private radio and television broadcasters must
respect in their information programmes, with the aim of guaranteeing equal
treatment, objectivity and the completeness and impartiality of information.
2. From the date of the calling of the election until the closure of the
electoral process it is forbidden for any radio or television broadcast to give,
even in an indirect form, voting indications or present their own voting
3. The producers and the presenters are also required to behave correctly and
impartially in the management of the programme, so as not to influence, even in
a surreptitious form, the free choice of the electors.
4. In paragraph 5 of article 1 of law number 515 of 10 December 1993 the words
“Beginning from the thirtieth day prior to the date of the vote for election to
the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate” are replaced by “From the date of the
calling of the election for the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate until the
closure of the electoral process”.
(Radio stations of political parties)
The provisions of articles 1 to 5 do not apply to radio stations mentioned in
article 11 paragraph 2 of law number 67 of 25 February 1987 and successive
modifications. It is forbidden for such radio stations to provide spaces,
whether free or paid-for, for selfmanaged messages.
(Electoral political messages in newspapers and periodicals)
1. From the date of the calling of the election until the day prior to the
election itself, the editors of newspapers and periodicals, if they intend to
publish any type of electoral political message, must give timely notification
of it in their respective publications in order to allow equal access to the
relevant spaces to the candidates and the political parties. The communication
must be made according to the conditions and with the content set by the
2. Only the following types of electoral political message are permitted:
a. announcements of debates, round tables, conferences, speeches.
b. publications which present the electoral manifestos of the political lists,
the groups of candidates and the individual candidates.
c. publications of comparisons between candidates.
3. The provisions stated in paragraphs 1 and 2 do not apply to official
newspapers or periodicals of political parties or political movements, or to
electoral publications of political lists, groups of candidates or individual
candidates. Furthermore, these provisions do not apply to other newspapers and
periodicals outside the period stated in paragraph 1.
(Political and electoral opinion polls)
1. In the fifteen days prior to the election it is forbidden to make public or
publish or broadcast the results of opinion polls on the result of the election
or on the voting intentions of the electors, even if such opinion polls have
been conducted prior to the exclusion period.
2. The Authority establishes the obligatory criteria by which the opinion polls
stated in paragraph 1 must be conducted.
3. The results of the opinion polls conducted outside the period stated in
paragraph 1 can be published or broadcast only if accompanied by he following
indications. These indications are the responsibility of the subject who has
conducted the opinion poll, and must be made available at the same time, in
their entirety and with the same indications, on the special web-site set up and
run by the Department for Information and Publishing under the Presidency of the
Council of Ministers:
a. the subject who conducted the opinion poll
b. the buyer
c. the criteria followed in determining the sample
d. the method of collecting information and the elaboration of the data
e. the number of people questioned and the area of reference
f. the questions asked
g. the percentage of people questioned who didn’t reply to any question
h. the date on which the opinion poll was conducted
(Regulation of institutional communication and the requirement of information)
1. From the date of the calling of the election until the closure of the
election it is forbidden for any part of the public administration to conduct
communication activities with the exception of those done in an impersonal form
and necessary for the effective running of its administrative duties.
2. Public or private radio or television broadcasters, on the instruction of the
relevant authorities, inform the citizens of the voting conditions and the
opening and closing time of the polling stations.
(Measures and sanctions)
1. Violation of the provisions stated in this law, as well as those issued by
the Commission and the Authority, will be prosecuted by the latter, according to
the provisions of this article. Any interested political subject can, in any
case, report such violations within ten days of their occurrence. The violation
should be reported, even by fax:
a. to the Authority.
b. to the private broadcaster or editor where the violation occurred.
c. to the relevant regional communication committee or, where said body has not
yet been set up, to the regional committee for radio and television services.
d. to the tax authorities which have territorial responsibility for the domicile
of the broadcaster or the editor. Said tax authorities will then take the
necessary steps to secure the relevant recordings as stipulated by the Authority
or by the report of the violation within the following twelve hours.
2. The Authority, making use also of the relevant regional communication
committee or, where said body has not yet been set up, of the regional committee
for radio and television services, as well as the relevant territorial
inspectorate of the Ministry of Communication and the tax authorities, initiates
a brief investigation and, once the facts have been declared, even by fax, the
interested parties listened to and possible counter-deductions acquired, to be
transmitted within twenty four hours of the notification, takes a decision
without delay, and in any case within the forty eight hours following the
verification of the violation or of the declaration, derogating from the terms
and the procedural conditions stated in law number 689 of 24 November 1981.
3. In the case of a violation of articles 2, 4, paragraphs 1, 2 and 6, the
Authority orders the radio or television broadcaster to transmit political
communication programmes with significant participation of the political
subjects who were directly damaged by the violation.
4. In the case of a violation of articles 3 and 4, paragraphs 3 to 7, the
Authority orders the relevant radio or television broadcaster to suspend
immediately the transmission of programmes in violation of this law and:
a. the creation of spaces, free or paid-for, for the transmission of
self-managed political messages by subjects damaged or illegitimately excluded,
thus restoring the balance between the political parties.
b. if necessary, the restoration of balance between the spaces designated for
messages and those designated for free political communication.
5. In the case of a violation of article 5, the Authority orders the relevant
radio or television broadcaster to transmit political communication programmes
with significant participation of the political subjects who were directly
damaged by the violation.
6. In the case of a violation of article 7, the Authority orders the relevant
editor to make available spaces for compensatory electoral publicity for the
political subjects who were illegitimately excluded.
7. In the case of a violation of article 8, the Authority orders the relevant
radio or television broadcaster or editor to declare such circumstanc es on the
means of communication which published or broadcast the opinion poll with the
same importance, in terms of time slot, position and editorial characteristics,
as that given to the publication of the original opinion polls.
8. In addition to that envisaged in paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, the Authority
a. the transmission or publication, even repeated depending on the seriousness
of the case, of messages containing an indication of the violation committed.
b. where necessary, the transmission or publication, even repeated depending on
the seriousness of the case, of corrections with the same importance, in terms
of time slot, position and editorial characteristics, as that given to the
communication to be corrected.
9. Furthermore, the Authority can also adopt further emergency measures with the
aim of restoring balance in the access to political communication.
10. The measures of the Authority stated in this article can be contested at the
Regional Administrative Court (TAR) of Lazio within thirty days of the
communication of said measures. In the case of inertia on the part of the
the interested subjects can, within the same time period, ask the TAR of Lazio,
even in closed session, to convict the Authority itself and require it to take a
decision within three days of the judgement. In the case of a request for a
closed session, the interested subjects can transmit or deposit memoirs within
five days of the notification. The TAR of Lazio, independently of the
subdivision of the court in session, declares its opinion on the request for
suspension in the first Council Chamber after the expiry of the period as stated
in the previous sentence, and in
any case not after the seventh day from this. The same rules apply for appeals
before the Council of State.
(Conditions of communication)
1. Within thirty days of the vote for election to the Chamber of Deputies and
the Senate and also in the case of supplementary elections, the owners of local
and national radio and television broadcasters and the editors of newspapers and
magazines inform the Presidents of the Chamber and the Senate, as well as the
regional committee of electoral guarantee as stated in article 13 of law number
515 of 10 December 1993, about the services of political communication and the
political messages published or broadcast in accordance with the previous
articles, the names of those who have participated in them, the spaces given
free of charge or at a reduced price, the associated income and the names of the
subjects who have made the relevant payments.
2. In the case of a failure to respect the conditions stated in paragraph 1, a
fine of from ten million lire to one hundred million lire will be imposed.
1. The financial burden deriving from the introduction of this law, valued at
twenty billion lire beginning in the year 2000, will be covered by a
corresponding reduction in the registered appropriation in the three-year budget
2000-2002 of the base forecast unit of the current “Special Fund” estimated by
the Treasury, using in part for the years 2000 and 2002 the reserve funds of the
Treasury and for the year 2001 the reserve funds of the Ministry of Finance.
2. The Treasury is authorised to implement, with its own decrees, the necessary
changes in the budget.