TBILISI, DFWatch – Coalition of Media Advocacy is expressing its solidarity with Georgian newspapers which are facing a dire threat of having their distribution virtually strangled.

The Coalition said in a statement they too will attend Tuesday’s rally in front of Tbilisi City Hall at 2 pm, along with representatives of the press to protest against city hall’s new kiosk plan.

Tbilisi City Hall recently announced a tender within a project called “1000 Booths”. Most of the new booths within the scheme will be placed at locations where there have been newspaper kiosks for a long time, either run by chains or individual vendors. Over the last few days, some of these have been forced to leave.

“Newspaper distribution is a problematic issue in Georgia. Announcing a tender for newspaper kiosk locations will make the situation even more difficult, because it will significantly restrict the distribution of magazines and newspapers. We think newspapers, magazines and books are particularly important products for society and it is preferable to have a healthy competition among the distributors of printed media, but not between newspaper distributors and food companies. The coalition appeals to City Hall with the request to cancel the announced tender, to immediately meet with newspaper owners and distributors and cooperate with them on deciding the issue, so that there is no damage done to print media and their customers,” the statement says.