Media Representatives and NGOs Urge Parliament to Speed up Media Transparency Bill Consideration

23 Mar, 2011

On March 21, non-governmental organizations and media representatives sent an appeal to Parliament, urging to speed up the process of considering a package of media transparency-related bills.  The Tbilisi Marriott Hotel hosted a press conference on the event.

The media bill that aims to improve media environment was proposed by a group of lawyers and journalists (Lasha Tugushi, Vakhtang Khmaladze, Eliso Chapidze, Giorgi Chkheidze and Nino Danelia).  The legislative package of draft laws was prepared as part of the Media Environment Analysis and Improvement project supported by the Open Society Georgia Foundation.

The bill proposed by media experts will have an impact on eight legislative acts, the General Administrative Code and the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting.  The bill was officially registered in Parliament on November 12.

On November 12, along with the package proposal of the group, a legislative proposal prepared by the Parliament Committee for Legal Affairs of Georgia was also submitted to Parliament. The government proposed draft calls for making amendments only to the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting.  According to the draft, a broadcast license holder cannot be a legal entity in which more than 10% of shares are owned by offshore-registered entity. 

Parliament held the first hearing of the government proposed bill on December 7.  Citing the need for additional information, Parliament postponed the second hearing to the next session.  NGOs and media representatives commented on Parliament’s decision to postpone the consideration of the bill.

“The process of considering the bill started constructively.  We would like the process to continue in the same way. We anticipated the consideration of this bill and the one proposed by media experts that was submitted to Parliament following the initiative of the Christian-Democrats.  We would like to appeal to Parliament today to speed up the consideration of media-related bills.  New organizations like the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics and other new media groups have supported our appeal. Today we will give an opportunity to journalists and civil society representatives who are here to join the appeal that will be issued by the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics,” said Keti Khutsishvili, the OSGF Executive Director.

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics believes that transparency of electronic media ownership as well as financial activities of media owners and better access to public information will contribute to improving media environment in Georgia. 

“The Charter of Ethics decided to support the initiative at a meeting held by the end of January,” said Zviad Koridze, the chairman of the Council of Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics.

See  the full version of the appeal.

See the statement issued by the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics.

Listen to, read, and watch media reports on the news conference.

See Video record of the news conference.