TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia will enforce media diversity, but only for sixty days, according to a new draft law.
The draft envisages passing a law that will secure the population diverse access to TV channels. Currently, most of the population only have access to channels that are strongly pro-government.
Speaker of Parliament Davit Bakradze said Monday that a law proposal originally raised by a pro-democracy campaign will be debated in parliament Thursday and Friday this week, and that the process will be speedy.
Bakradze said that parliament will pass the law, which he can say because the ruling National Movement party controls an absolute majority.
Spokespersons for the pro-democracy campaign This Affects You Too, which first suggested these changes, welcomed the government’s decision. But they also say that there are many details left to sort out, such as how to implement the law and what conditions will apply, as well as how to regulate it. Until these details are clear, the campaigners are unable to have a position.
The law will enforce what is called the must-carry and must-offer principles, which will force cable networks to allow TV broadcasters to carry their signals and force TV channels to let cable networks carry their signals.
The Saakashvili regime was against such a law for several months, but finally agreed in order to provide voters with the broadest possible information.