Georgian Democracy Initiative, a local CSO, filed a constitutional appeal regarding amendments made in Law of Georgia on Broadcasting and Georgia’s Code on the Rights of the Child, which envisage imposing additional obligations on broadcasters “to protect juveniles from harmful influence.”
The changes, initiated by MP Sopio Kiladze, chairperson of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, entered into force on September 1.
GDI argues that article 66 of Code on the Rights of the Child and Articles 56¹, 56² and 71 of Law on Broadcasting should be deemed unconstitutional.
According to the organization, the new amendments enable the GNCC to regulate information and content that may have a harmful influence on children. GDI states that authorizing the Communications Commission to determine what type of content may or may not be disseminated infringes on the freedom of expression, by effectively introducing a regulatory mechanism to censor information flow.
The organization also asserts that intended sanctions for violation of these requirements are specific and strict, including possible suspension of a broadcaster’s license in case of a repeated violation.
“We believe impending the freedom of the media is especially impermissible and dangerous during electoral cycle,” the statement reads.
GDI filed the appeal on behalf of several pro-opposition TV channels, Mtavari Arkhi, Kavkasia, TV Pirveli, Formula and the creative group of the popular TV series “Chemi Tsolis Dakalebi” (My Wife’s Girlfriends).
Starting from September 1, TV channels must also meet these scheduling requirements:
- Programs inappropriate for minors under the age of 18 must not be aired between 6:00 – 24:00
- Under 15 – 6:00 – 23:00
- Under 12 – 6:00 – 21:00
- Under 7 – 6:00 – 21:00
- TV Channels Decry Controversial Changes which Restrict Airing Content ‘Harmful for Children’
- Media Coalition Concerned as GNCC Proposes Changes Ahead of Elections