TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian parliament today passed the new law which is meant to make television more diverse ahead of each election.
A campaigners have been advocating the must-carry and must-offer principles for months, and two weeks ago the ruling National Movement party decided to allow the measure.
Most Georgians get their news from television, but all national channels are strongly pro-government. The new law will force cable networs to also carry smaller government-critical channels, at least the last two months before every election.
But the ruling party did not accept extending the measure beyond election day, as campaigners had asked for. These rules will therefore be in force from the day that the date of an election is announced, until the election day, which will mean about 60 days.
Pavle Kublashvili, head of parliament’s judiciary committee, said a special entry was made in the law which will allow small Tbilisi-based Kavkazia TV to qualify as a broadcaster covered by the must-carry principle.
The law specifies that all broadcasters should be included under equal and nondiscriminatory conditions, he added.
Changes were also made to the Election Code when the bill was passed by 81 votes.