"Regulator creates dangerous trends" | NGOs unite to protect Mtavari Channel


Media Advocacy Coalition is ready to engage in the protection of the rights of the "Mtavari Channel" during the litigation. Coalition member organizations say the regulatory commission's decision contains signs of censorship and is aimed at silencing independent media.

"I am personally ready to be a representative of the "Mtavari Channel", because I think that this tendency of sanctions pose  danger not only for the "Mtavari Channel" , but also for freedom of expression, for any broadcaster," said Natia Kapanadze, Head of the Media Rights organization.
Media experts also point out the shortcomings and factual inaccuracies in the decision of the Regulatory Commission:
"The decision can be seen as a restriction on freedom of expression. There are several problems with the decision: one is that it is not a political advertisement, the other is that our legislation does not prohibit the placement of political advertising during the non-election period and  in addition , the amount of the fine  is quite large,"- says Mariam Gogosashvili, Executive Director of the Charter of Journalistic Ethics.
Experts also point out that the attempt to impose censorship is a dangerous precedent, and this is further exacerbated by the fact that the regulatory body acts in the interests of the government. They think censorship will affect all critical media in the future.
"The Regulator has gone beyond the legal framework because the  discretion of the legislation does not include the regulation of such content issues. Due to the unacceptable critical content towards the government, the regulator creates very dangerous tendencies. It interferes with both the advertising content and the story. If we recall the previous fine for obscenity, just the form is different; in this case the situation is even worse," said Tamar Kintsurashvili, Executive Director of the Media Development Fund.

On November 25 the Bekauri agency fined the Mtavari channel 112,000 GEL for three videos.
According to the Communications Commission, the reason for the huge fine was the distribution of political advertisement during the non-election period.