The broadcasters and CSOs call the President of Georgia to veto the law on social advertising
On October 31, the Parliament of Georgia passed the bill about regulations on social advertising. The bill was obtained after the third reading. In addition to the other issues, the changes are related to the examination of the dispute between an administrative body and a broadcaster by the Georgian National Communications Commission. The Commission will discuss an issue in case parties are unable to establish whether an advertisement complies with the criteria of social advertising or not.
In August, the representatives of private and civil sector released a statement, expressing their worries about a number of articles in the draft law. The Ministry of Justice of Georgia organized an additional meeting where the representatives of the broadcasters and civil sector stated their position once again. It was also noted, that granting an additional function to the Commission would limit the editorial independence of the broadcasters. Therefore, the risk of using social advertising for political motives during the pre-election period would increase. The definition of social advertising remains ambiguous and the bill does not foresee the switchover to the digital broadcasting either.
The representatives of broadcasting and civil sectors called the members of legislative and executive branches of the government to temporarily discontinue the discussion on the draft law in the Parliament of Georgia. They also called upon creation of the working group, consisting of the representatives of broadcasters, the National Communications Commission, the Parliament of Georgia, the Ministry of Justice and NGOs, to discuss the alternatives to the amendment.
Unfortunately, the Parliament of Georgia passed the law after the final reading without taking into consideration the views of private broadcasters and civil sector. Moreover, the additional meeting to propose the alternatives to the legislative body was not arranged.
The signatory organizations appeal to the President of Georgia, to use the authority granted by the constitution and veto the law regulating social advertising.
We call the Parliament of Georgia and the corresponding executive bodies to take into consideration the substantial influence the media regulatory norms can have on the media environment in Georgia.
Therefore, the active involvement of the media in this development is vital. We express our readiness to meet the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia to discuss the future media regulatory norms.
Transparency International Georgia
Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics
The Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB)