TBILISI, DFWatch–A new report found violations in the activities of the National Communications Commission.
It says that commission head Irakli Chikovani, who has been abroad for the last 3 months, has a conflict of interest.
Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association and Levan Mikeladze fund, with financial support from Open Society Georgia, monitored the activities of the commission and concludes that it is not immune from political pressure.
One of the examples of political pressure discussed in the report is the case of Stereo+.
Stereo+ was fined with 5 000 GEL for working without authorization and using radio frequency without license. One of the report’s authors, Mariam Gogosashvili, mentions that Stereo+ was fined immediately after embarking on a cooperation with Channel 9, which was considered an opposition TV company at the time.
Member of the commission Irakli Moseshvili denied any political pressure and added that to sanction media organizations is very unpleasant for them, but there is no other body that will take responsibility for monitoring and sanction the media sector.
“The members of the commission are chosen once in 6 years, while parliament members change in every 4 year. It’s for reducing the pressure, and I’m responsible for saying that I have never been pressured,” Mosiashvili said.
The board of the communications commission is staffed with four members and head Chikovani. Now, when Chikovani is not in Georgia, the members choose who will be head on each meeting and then begin discussing the issues.
Lasha Tughushi, founder of the newspaper Rezonansi and head of Liberal Academy Tbilisi, says that according to the legislation, the head calls the commission meetings and not already gathered members choose new one.
Chikovani owns advertising company Magi Style Media together with Giorgi Gegeshidze, former head of TV company Rustavi 2. Magi Style Media was cooperating with Rustavi 2 and TV company Imedi.
“The commission did not notice how these two TV companies were ignoring the requirements of the legislation for a long time,” the report notes.
The authors recommend that the commission don’t discriminate and discuss every issue on equal terms.