Less than two weeks before the first round, the presidential campaign enters its home stretch on Monday March 28, with the start of the official campaign. First consequence: the rules of audiovisual coverage of the twelve candidates are changing. The speaking time and airtime counters are reset to zero, while a principle of strict equality of speaking time between the candidates now applies.
As the Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority (Arcom) points out, the contenders for the Elysée Palace and their supporters will therefore benefit from the same speaking time on radio and television, regardless of the electoral weight of their party or their position in the polls, over all broadcast time slots (morning, day, evening and night).
Reserve period April 9 and 10
The official campaign period means that during the two weeks before the election, the public authorities and the audiovisual media must treat all presidential candidates under the same conditions.
Monday, March 28 also marks the start of the broadcast of the candidates’ television spots, while the public authorities will provide a minimum public display to the contenders for the Elysée Palace (electoral panels) and the State will pay for the sending of their profession of faith.
The day before and the day of the first round, April 9 and 10, the candidates and the audiovisual media will enter the last phase of the campaign, the “reserve period” : the prohibition of the diffusion of any message of electoral propaganda, in order not to influence the vote in its last moments.
If the polls, results or electoral remarks of the candidates cannot, either, be broadcast on the air, Arcom recalls on the other hand that “television and radio stations may broadcast reports on the voting of candidates and the personalities who support them”.
In the in-between rounds, from April 11 to 22, the period of strict equality between the two finalist candidates will resume. In turn, on the eve and on the day of the second round, April 24, the “reserve period” will prevail.