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Media Asking for Help

Electronic media are calling Georgian President once again use its veto, and this time – against the adoption of the law on social advertising by Parliament.
NGOs  join this requirement.

In particular, we are talking about the draft amendments to the law on broadcasting and advertising, developed by the Ministry of Justice.

The project provides for the obligation for broadcasters to place free social ads on the air prepared on the initiative of the government departments. Representatives  of the media criticized this project several months ago, because they think it will cause them financial loss.

At the same time, the Ministry of Justice states that the purpose of the bill is to reduce the funding of broadcasters from the state.

According to the draft, broadcasters will be able to receive from the government money for social advertising only after the free time limit is used – 90 seconds every 3 hours.

If the administrative authority or the broadcaster cannot come to an agreement on the deployment of social advertising, government structure may apply to the Commission for Communications.

According to Executive Director at Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB) Natia Kuprashvili, the bill does not specify what can be considered a social advertising.

General Director of Rustavi 2 TV Company Nika Gvaramia says  that broadcasters are not required to place social advertising.

“If the Ministry is going to conduct an information campaign, then why should we pay for it?” – he states.

Given these circumstances, a few months ago  the media and several non-governmental organizations appealed to the Government to discuss the issues related to social advertising and refrain from making changes to the legislation at this stage.

“At this stage it is not enough just to consider the opinion of broadcasters. Now we have to stop all work on this document, since June 2015 the country will  fully transfer to digital broadcast, and it will create completely new realities. Only  then it will be possible to discuss this issue. “

Despite this, according to Executive Director  of the Association Natia Kuprashvili, the government refused to consider the comments of media and NGOs. Based on this, they call the President to use his constitutional right of the President to veto the law if it is adopted by Parliament.

“This law will cause great harm to both the media and administrative bodies. Nobody knows how it will be used in practice. For example, information about the beginning of the statistics service on general census cannot be called social advertising, but on the other hand it can’t be considered a commercial or political advertising. There will be a lot of problems in this regard. President should veto this law, if it is passed by Parliament, “- believe in the Association.