TBILISI, DFWatch – A group in Georgia asks the media regulatory body to stop putting pressure on independent media outlets in the country.

The alliance behind the appeal is called Solidarity for Freedom of Media and was formed in early February in the wake of the takeover of Maestro TV’s offices.

One of Maestro’s founders, Mamuka Glonti, took the initiative to form the alliance, and the goal is to fight against illegal actions, protecting each other and to show solidarity when some part of the media is under threat.

The alliance today released a petition responding to several actions by the Georgian National Communication Commission (GNCC), including the fining of TV radio and company Trialeti.

The group considers freedom of speech in Georgia to be under threat.

“Instead of frequency regulation, GNCC is formed as an harassment mechanism towards free media. Because of its permanent harassment, local broadcasters cannot compete with government controlled national broadcasters,” the petition says.

The group considers the fining Trialeti illegal. They say there is also pressure exerted upon new TV company Metskhre Arkhi, which belongs to the team around the government’s main political competitor, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

“Cable network operators are under pressure. Those who can potentially become conductors of TV company Metskhre Arkhi’s broadcasting,” the petition says. This company hasn’t started broadcasting yet.

“GNCC restricts Global Contact Consulting Ltd, cable network operator without any legal grounds and without authority and forces to stop/turn off foreign popular broadcasters from the network.”

Solidarity for Freedom of Media will today hold rally protest ‘Regulatory regulate, don’t restrict’ in front of GNCC building, at 14:00