Nine telecommunications companies, including Magticom, Caucasus Online, and Akhali Kselebi expressed protest against the amendments initiated by the government and Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) to the Laws on Broadcasting and Electronic Communications.
The companies noted that the amendments will have a significantly negative effect on their future activities. They also said that the proposed changes contradict the constitution.
In a joint statement released on July 9, the telecommunications companies highlighted that they were not consulted before drafting amendments. The companies noted that they learned about the planned changes at an online meeting with GNCC on July 1, 2020, where they received only “general information” about the bill.
The telecommunications companies complained that they had no opportunity to familiarize themselves with the draft bill earlier, as GNCC refused to provide documents, saying that the amendments were not initiated by it.
“After the bill was published on the Parliament’s official website on July 6, it appeared [to us as a surprise] that not only the commission had access to the draft bill, but it had been the sponsor of the legislative initiative,” the statement reads.
The companies also noted that in its 2019 report submitted to the Parliament, GNCC did not indicate problems in terms of implementation of its decisions and that there was a need to address the issue with proposing amendments. Thus, the companies said that rushing the bill is not well-grounded.
Moreover, the companies also spoke about the possible negative financial consequences of the bill. Speaking about other shortcomings, the companies said that not a single state/non-state and/or international organization, expert, or working group participated in developing the bill.
The companies said that the bill does not comply with the Georgian constitution, as:
- The norms proposed by the bill represent unjustified interference in the property rights secured by the constitution;
- Its legitimate goal is unclear and vague;
- The proposed legislative regulation is disproportionate to achieve its declared goal;
- The bill fails to meet the requirement for legal certainty established for a legislative norm.
The telecommunications companies call on the Georgian government and the Parliament not to allow an accelerated discussion of the bill; to consider legitimate interests of all stakeholders as much as possible; and to analyze all arguments provided by the companies.
Read more about the proposed changes: