Political Advertising

Political advertising is defined as "advertising for the purpose of promoting or opposing a registered party or the election of a candidate."

Advertising regulated by the Elections Act, 1991 , includes:

  • television and radio broadcasts
  • print, such as newspapers, magazines and other periodicals
  • campaign signs, banners, buttons

Advertising does not normally include legitimate news stories, interviews, commentaries, or other articles/news pieces prepared for publication or broadcast.

Printed Advertising Guidelines

Printed advertisements, including handbills, placards, or posters must contain on its face:

  • the name and address of the printer of the advertisement
  • the name and address of the person who authorized the printing on behalf of the candidate or party

Political parties and candidates are asked to refrain from advertising the specific location of the polling stations in their advertisements.

Polling Day Activity Guidelines

The Elections Act, 1991  states that on election day, from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. (during voting hours when the polls are open), a person must not:

  • take part in a demonstration, parade, motorcade or other outdoor gathering
  • supply for that purpose a loudspeaker, bunting, flag, banner, placard, or other object in support of the election of a candidate or a political party.
  • post a sign or display a flag, banner, placard, or other object in support of the election of a candidate or a political party within 100 meters of a polling station building.

Public Service Announcement Guidelines

Public service announcements (PSAs) are advertisements that provide information to the public, usually containing critical contact information, services being offered on polling days (e.g. rides to polling stations) and so on.

Political party logos are permitted in PSAs, but party slogans or catch-phrases are not. The focus of the PSA must be the message (e.g. call for a ride) not the party's logo or the candidate's name.

There are no restrictions as to when PSAs are permitted. They can be published at any time before, during or after the election period. Elections Newfoundland and Labrador recommends the following format for PSAs:

Media Advertising Guidelines

Media advertising is defined to include radio, television and newspaper/periodical advertisements.

No media advertising is permitted during the blackout period. The blackout period is the day before election day and election day.

The blackout period does not apply to public service announcements. They are permitted at any time.

What is the extent of the media's responsibility?

Media outlets are accountable for the content they publish. Elections Newfoundland and Labrador encourages all media who run campaign related ads to familiarize themselves with the advertising guidelines and enforce them with advertising clients.

Before publishing a political advertisement in a publication or through the use of some outdoor advertising facility, media outlets must ensure that:

  • any person, corporation, trade union, party or candidate wishing to place a political advertisement provides the media contact with his/her identification in writing
  • any person, corporate, trade union, party or candidate who is sponsoring a political advertisement provides the media with identification in writing

It is an offence under the Elections Act, 1991  for a person to broadcast or publish an advertisement contrary to the provisions outlined in the Act.

Publishers are required to keep records for a period of two years after the date of publication. Record details must include:

  • a copy of the advertisement
  • the charge for the advertisement
  • the identifications, as outlined above

The public is entitled to inspect those records during normal office hours.

Advertising Price Guidelines

According to the Elections Act, 1991  no person, corporation, or trade union can charge a registered party, candidate, or party representative a higher rate than offered to any other registered party, candidate, or party representative. The rates charged for every party and candidate must be the same.

The rates charged during that period must be the same as the rate charged for an equal amount of broadcast time or advertising space outside that period. In other words, rates cannot be increased during election time. They must be the same as any other advertising period during the year.

For more information on campaign advertising regulations, please refer to section 226.1 of the Elections Act, 1991 , or contact Elections Newfoundland and Labrador.