RSF Reacts to Amendments on Broadcasting Law

A media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on December 26 reacted to the amendments to the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting adopted by the Parliament of Georgia a few days ago. “RSB is alarmed by the risks the amendments pose to freedom of expression” the watchdog stated on Twitter.

Despite the call of civil society organizations, the Parliament of Georgia approved the amendments to the Law on Broadcasting by 81 votes in a special session held on December 22.

According to the Georgian Dream MPs, the changes initiated on September 7, 2022 aim to bring Georgian legislation on audiovisual media services into compliance with the relevant directive of the European Union. However, the means of supervision of media content on the part of the Communications Commission are expanding.

Simultaneously, the procedure for resolving defamation disputes is changed, and a “right to respond” clause is added, allowing citizens who believe that a particular media outlet has spread false and defamatory information about them to file a complaint directly with the Communications Commission. Previously, in similar cases, citizens petitioned the Charter of Journalistic Ethics or the court. Furthermore, whether or not the commission’s decisions are appealed in court, they will be effective immediately.

The amendments to the Law on Broadcasting were criticized by civil society organizations shortly after their initiation. The CSOs stated that the draft law posed risks of restricting the freedom of expression, worsening the media environment in the country.

They emphasized that “given the practice of sanctioning critical media outlets by the Communications Commission, the risk of damage expected by the immediate enforcement of politically biased decisions against critical media increases significantly.”

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


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