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TV Channels Decry Controversial Changes which Restrict Airing Content ‘Harmful for Children’

A number of pro-opposition TV channels, among them Mtavari Arkhi, Kavkasia, TV Pirveli and Formula, as well as Alliance of Regional Broadcaster have expressed their strong protest against the amendments to the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting, which envisages imposing additional obligations on broadcasters “to protect juveniles from harmful influence.”

The amendments, initiated by MP Sopio Kiladze, chairperson of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, which will enter into force on September 1 stipulates that:

  • A broadcaster is obliged to protect juveniles from harmful content;
  • A broadcaster is prohibited to broadcast a program or a material in the program that may harm the physical, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual development, as well as mental and physical health of minors;
  • A broadcaster is prohibited to air a program or a material in the program that may harm the socialization of minors;
  • A broadcaster is obliged to plan its programming considering the following restrictions:
  1. Not to place a program inappropriate for minors below 18 in its programming from 06:00 to midnight;
  2. Not to place a program inappropriate for minors below 15 in its programming from 06:00 to 23:00;
  3. Not to place a program inappropriate for minors below 12 in its programming from 06:00 to 21:00;
  4. Not to place a program inappropriate for minors below 7 in its programming from 06:00 to 21:00.

The same amendments define the criteria for the content that is considered inappropriate for minors, including:

  • Program (announcement) involving sexual intercourse and sexual violence;
  • Sexual acts involving underage persons or ”perverted” sexual activity;
  • Violent scenes (except for educational, historical, fantastic and comedy programs);
  • Scenes showing drug use, its preparation, or explanations on how to use drugs in a positive context;
  • Scenes showing tobacco and alcohol use in a positive context.

Violation of these requirements may lead to the suspension of a broadcaster’s license.

Protesting broadcasters noted in their August 19 statement that amendments give the Government a lever to control broadcasters’ editorial policies.

The broadcasters slammed the new provisions as “absolutely unpredictable and obscure” and that MP Kiladze, initiator of these amendments did not make any relevant clarifications.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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