TBILISI, DFWatch – For the second year in a row, the organization behind a Georgian journalistic ethics charter was unable to pass a revised charter because too few members showed up.

At its third annual session on Saturday, held in Tbilisi Courtyard Marriot, three new members were accepted and the chairman was reelected.

The changes which were up for review this year are the same as last year and deals with cases of violations by persons who are not a member of the charter.

According to the Charter council there are more than 200 signatories to the Charter; but only 87 of them registered for Saturday’s meeting. For the vote to be valid at least 2/3 of the members must attend.

This became the subject of discussion. Goga Aptsiauri, journalist at Radio Liberty Georgia made the first critical comment saying that maybe the ‘charter is counting its last minutes.’ His comment was followed by a longer discussion in the hall. One of the problems mentioned was the fact that the charter isn’t able to increase its awareness and the council isn’t able to organize things so as to ‘at least inform the members properly and make them to come to the session.’

At the beginning of the meeting Zviad Koridze, chairman in 2011 and reelected for another year, presented cases complaints to the charter this year. Only five such cases were been presented. Due to the low number of cases, Goga Aptsiauri argued that the charter should also review cases of journalists who aren’t members of the charter.

“The charter remains silent to the unethical material which causes big resonance in the population and finally the charter doesn’t respond to those people’s requirements.” He says that people don’t know enough about the charter and they should me informed, but the charter should also take some steps of its own.

“You should give the name of what is happening in today’s Television sphere,” he added and several people representing the regions made comments supporting Aptsiauri.

But journalist from Poti thought otherwise, and argued that the Charter cannot sanction decisions by non-member journalists while it has these kinds of internal problems and ‘isn’t even able to make a quorum.’ A quorum is the minimum number of delegates necessary to make a valid vote.

Finally a decision was made to appoint a special session meeting which may be held in the spring of 2012, and the issue of expnding the council mandate will be initiated for the third time.

Three new members of the council were chosen, and at the same time three left it, including Eliso Chapidze, editor of the daily newspaper Resonance. At the end of the session she appealed to the journalists gathered at the meeting to support and express protest to the events happening around the press kiosks in Tbilisi.

“Let’s express our attitude to the campaign against the print media and we already had a real estate of its results on ourselves. Eggs and meats will be sold at places where Georgian press used to be sold for many years. There is already a real problem with newspaper distribution today,” Chapidze said.

Later a decision was made that the Charter should react to the events happening around the newspaper kiosks and independent TV Maestro.

Natia Kuprashvili from the Regional Broadcasters Association, Davit Mchedlidze from the online news portal Media.ge and Natia Rokva from Channel 25 were elected a new member of the Georgian Journalistic Charter Council.

There are nine members of the Charter council – three representing the media in the capital and six the regions. The charter was founded in December 2009.