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Parliament Backs Media Restrictions in Courts
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 3 Jul.'07 / 17:05

Parliament approved with 115 votes to 15, on its first hearing, a proposal to ban video recordings and photo coverage from court buildings and courtrooms by media sources, on July 3.

The vote follows an earlier one on June 27, which unexpectedly saw the governing party-sponsored draft law being voted down by legislators. It fell five votes short of the 112 required.

The initial draft also proposed banning audio recording in courtrooms. The change is in accordance with parliamentary procedures, which insist, in the event of a proposal being rejected, that amendments be made. Judges, however, even under the revised draft law, will still have the right to ban audio recordings "after providing a reasonable explanation."

The draft law has to be approved with its second and third hearings before going into force.

The proposal was slammed by opposition lawmakers as an attempt "to impose censorship."

Public Defender Sozar Subari also criticized it, saying it was inappropriate for a country where the judiciary was still in transition and reforms were still underway.

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