STRASBOURG, June 19 (Itar-Tass) — Russian authorities did not breach the obligation to hold a free parliamentary election in 2003, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday.
The court said the obligation was not breached although there was no equality of candidates by television coverage. That circumstance was not sufficient for acknowledging the election as not free, the court said.
The court said that effective laws gave the opposition the minimal access to television coverage and established the principle of neutrality of state-controlled media.
The court ruled that Russia had taken a number of measures to ensure a certain degree of the opposition presence on television and independence and neutrality of the media.
A number of opposition parties, including the Russian Communist Party and Yabloko, appealed to the Strasbourg Court. They said the State Duma election in 2003 was not free because of the unjust coverage of the election campaign by five federal channels.