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French media rules prohibit election coverage over weekend

GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP | Voting booths at a polling station in a nursery school in Montreuil, outside Paris, on May 6, 2017, one day before Sunday's presidential election run-off.

At midnight on Saturday, France entered an electoral “discretionary period” that prohibits French media from quoting the presidential candidates or their supporters until polls close at 8pm Sunday.

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This period of legal prohibition on campaign communications is observed for 44 hours before every French presidential and legislative election.

“Starting from the night before polls open, it is illegal to publish or broadcast by all means of communication any message that may be categorised as electoral propaganda,” France’s Superior Audiovisual Council, or CSA, said in a statement.

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The ban is in effect as French voters in overseas territories and living abroad head to the polls Saturday to choose between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Voting in mainland France begins on Sunday at 8am local time.

However, television stations in France are allowed to broadcast images of the candidates voting (along with other citizens), provided all candidates in the election are included, and as long as no candidate transmits any message on camera.

The law also prohibits French media from publishing, broadcasting or commenting on any kind of electoral poll.

Similarly, election results, even partial ones, cannot be published or broadcast before the last polling place closes on Sunday.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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