TBILISI, DFWatch – There is growing international support for extending the must-carry and must-offer system.
The system makes cable network obligated to transmit all TV stations and all TV channels to let their signal be carried is being discussed these days by a delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) who is visiting Georgia and holding meetings with officials and organizations.
As it is, must-carry and must-offer is only in force the last 60 days before an election.
Luca Volontè, chair of the delegation said at a press conference Wednesday that PACE supports extending the arrangement beyond the election.
This was the original demand from campaigners, but the government only agreed to enforce the principles in a 60 day time window, and wrote it into the election legislation instead of the law on media.
The regulations are now being enforced and reports indicate that most cable networks and broadcasters are following them. But democracy groups are continuing to ask the government extend the regulation.
Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State said yesterday said at a press conference that the US supports expending the principles beyond the election. http://dfwatch.net/melia-sums-up-democracy-talks-in-georgia-99992
NATO ambassadors who also visited the country also said they support this initiative.
Luca Volontè said must-carry and must-offer play an important role in the election process and even went as far as saying that the implementation of the principles is a necessary condition for having a democratic election.
The PACE delegation calls on the government to do everything to provide people in the regions with access to media. Cable television is not widely available all over Georgia.