TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s National Communications Commission (GNCC) Monday published data about the implementation of the must-carry and must-offer principles.
193 642 subscribers are now able to watch Channel 9, an opposition affiliated TV channel, which was having problems with getting distribution in the regions since it was established. 169 140 subscribers can receive Maestro TV, which had thousands of its satellite dishes seized shortly before the must-carry and must-offer principles came to force.
160 758 subscribers are receiving opposition-leaning Kavkazia TV, which was almost only available in Tbilisi for years and Channel 25 is now available to 154 924 subscribers.
GNCC promises to update this information periodically. Since the new legislation came into force, TV channels are still having problems with being included in cable networks, especially in the Kakheti region. The reasons given vary, but are usually technical problems. Some TV companies do not request to be carried by networks. But the authors of the new legislation claim that there is no obligation for TV channels to request networks to carry their signal. Instead, cable operator companies are obliged to carry the signal of all broadcasters having a proper license.
After months of campaigning and expert recommendations, the Georgian government only agreed to introduce the must-carry and must-offer principles for 60 days before the election. Local non-governmental organizations are trying to make the system permanent and also change the media legislation. Currentlly, must-carry is part of the election code.