Transparency International Georgia, a local civil society organization, released a statement on August 25 accusing TV Obiektivi of illegally running political ads promoting nativist Alliance of Patriots of Georgia party, whose leader MP Irma Inashvili is the founder of Obiektivi media agency.
According to the watchdog, the ads have been aired by the channel since as early as August 18, before the official election date has been announced, in violation of the Georgian legislation.
The TV ads show MP Inashvili making promises to implement economic projects in case of a victory in elections, “with a party flag and symbols on the background”.
Although said aired videos display no formal attributes of political ads, their content is clearly that of a political ad as per the Electoral Code of Georgia, notes the watchdog, adding that this goes contrary to the Georgian legislation.
TI Georgia says the Georgian National Communications Commission, a regulatory authority charged with overseeing broadcasting and electronic communications, has already warned TV Obiektivi for similar actions in 2017 and 2018.
The watchdog also warns that, when aired free of charge, the ads must be considered as a donation of TV Obiektivi to the Alliance of Patriots.
TI Georgia calls on the GNCC and the State Audit Office of Georgia to study the violation and take appropriate measures.