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Group Pushes for Package of Media-Related Bill
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 28 Oct.'10 / 12:21

A group of media and legal experts launched a campaign to push forward package of media-related bill, which they have elaborated in order to, as they say, improve media environment in the country.

The package, which includes eight drafts of legislative amendments, among other issues, also addresses need for full transparency of media ownership and finances of media organizations.

The group started developing the package of proposals long before announcement by Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, who said on October 26 that the new law would be passed, which would secure transparency of media ownership and finances. He said the draft law would be elaborated within next two weeks.

The initiative was overwhelmingly praised, but those who have long advocated for such measures also say that they have yet to see what the actual wording of the draft proposed by the authorities will be; media activists also say that this measure will not be enough and additional steps are required to improve media environment in the country and to fill legislative loopholes in this regard.

The group, involving among others Lasha Tugushi, an editor-in-chief of the Georgian daily Rezonansi; media researcher Nino Danelia, as well as legal experts Giorgi Chkheidze and Vakhtang Khmaladze, elaborated the package of proposals, which also addresses such issues like easing access to public information – the problem over which many journalists are increasingly complaining recently.

The proposal also offers measures for reducing timeframe of lengthy practice of court deliberations into the cases involving denial by the state structures access to public information and waiving court fees for such cases. It also addresses broadcasters’ licensing issues, as well as problems related with conflict of interest in the broadcast media and clear-cut regulations for media advertisement. The group said it planned series of meeting with senior lawmakers to lobby for the bill.

Georgian Public Defender, Giorgi Tugushi, to whom the package was presented on October 27, praised the proposal as “perfect”. He said that even his office encounters problems while trying to receive public information from number of the state structures.

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