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Government rules out extending media diversity law

by | Jul 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian government does not intend to change its position in regards of to implementing the must-carry and must-offer principles.

This means that it does not go along with the recommendation of foreign ambassadors in Georgia. These asked to extend the principles after election day.

The foreign diplomats in Georgia have formed an informal working group, headed by the UN ambassador, which comes together to air their views on different issues, especially when there is an election.

The group rarely goes public, but this time they released a statement calling for the Georgian government to extend the period of new rules for securing a broader media environment beyond election day.

The campaign This Affects You Too asks have been pushing for the principles for months in order, arguing that the population must have access to diverse media. First, the government categorically refused to implement these principles. But later it agreed, only that it placed a time limit on them for 60 days – from the day a date is appointed for the election until election day.

But the campaigners, part of the opposition and ambassadors consider that the new regulation should be extended to beyond election day.

The government now says it does not plan to do this.

Speaker of Parliament for the ruling National Movement party, Davit Bakradze, told DF Watch question that the government will support and encourage all cable operators and channels, which may continue cooperation with must-carry principle after elections.

He says the statement by the foreign diplomats contained very positive input regarding must-carry.

But when it comes to extending these rules beyond the election, the Speaker of Parliament said that there was a discussion before adopting this law and now he repeats that the expiration of must-carry obligation does not mean that any cable network or TV company has an obligation to immediately stop negotiations.

He remarked that the government will encourage them so that this agreement will continue, but cannot intervene in their relations. But he doesn’t specify what ‘encourage’ means.

 



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