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Parliament Adopts Controversial Amendments to Broadcasting Law

On October 19, the Parliament of Georgia adopted in an expedited manner, with 79 votes in third hearing, the controversial changes to the Law on Broadcasting, which further expand the power of the Georgian National Communications Commission.

According to the Parliament, the amendments to the law concern the appeals procedure for decisions by media self-regulation bodies on the distribution of programmes and advertisements containing hate speech and incitement to terrorism.

The Parliament release says that the amendment “allows for appeals against such decisions to the Commission, in particular in cases of violation of the ban on broadcasting programmes and advertisements containing obscenity, hate speech and incitement to terrorism”.

In the case of “gross violations of human rights”, the Commission will be empowered to impose administrative sanctions on the offender. Finally, the sanctioned entity will be able to challenge the Commission’s decision in court.

The dissemination of hate speech and incitement to terrorism in the media was already prohibited by the law, but but measures to respond to violations could only be taken under the self-regulatory mechanism. Watchdog groups are concerned that the changes could be used by the government as a weapon against critical media.

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

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