Media involvement started to bear fruits
16 December, 2010
Media involvement started to bear fruits

Certain segments of political opposition are still trying to continue negotiations with the Authorities on the improvement of election environment in the country. There are several principal questions which many people cannot imagine would be settled amicably with the Authorities. On the other hand, a number of media representatives came forward with an initiative to take part in the meetings periodically and contribute to the cause.
After the authors of the draft law on Broadcasting met with representatives of Communications

Regulatory Commission, news spread that the media transparency project would probably be followed by financial transparency regulations. As for the media project, its legislative initiation was made possible by Christian Democrats, the Parliamentary Minority.
The media project package is quite hefty. It covers all the issues which pose all levels of problems of media freedom, including the issue of media transparency.
As a reader may remember, the original version of the project permitted offshore companies to own 10% of shares of Georgian media outlets. So actually, it left a huge room for maneuvering. However, at the end the opposition, experts and non-governmental organizations managed to press on and achieve complete exclusion of any offshore ownership.
The transparency is automatically tied to financial transparency, the issue fully covered by the initiative of media experts. As they and representatives of non-governmental organizations state, without financial transparency, media ownership cannot be fully transparent.
Christian Democrats claim that several questions are left unanswered so far. For instance, they say one person should not own several media outlets. They also point at the issue of licensing. To ensure financial transparency, any amendment of the draft law would have to be possible on second parliamentary hearings.
Media engages in the efforts to improve election environment
Talks about the need in the improvement of the election system are going on incessantly. It turns out that visions of the Authorities and the opposition in this area cannot be reconciled. The opposition opines that the new system should accentuate the increase in the function of representatives of various parties and change the rule of forming electoral commissions to ensure due professionalism as a key criterion for commission membership. The Authorities, however, do not see any need to render any change to the system.
It was decided eventually that the demand for the initiative group of journalists would be satisfied and their representative would be able to attend a meeting on preliminary agreement.
As a reader may recollect, this group of journalists launched an initiative to take part in the negotiations which were underway between the Authorities and opposition on the problem of unsatisfactory election environment.
The group of journalists includes Eliso Chapidze, Deputy Chief Editor of Rezonanse Newspaper, Maia Purtseladze, Chief Editor of Versia Newspaper, Dachi Grdzelishvili, Head of Media Holding Kviris Palitra, Gia Iakobashvili, Chief Editor of Presa.Ge, Rozi Jgamaia, Presa.Ge representative and Ani Mirotadze, General Director of Pirweli Information Agency.
P.S. Media experts and Georgia’s Parliamentary Majority reached an agreement on the financial transparency of media channels. As Resonance Editor-in-Chief Lasha Tughushi told journalists after the meeting in the Parliament, media representatives made interesting proposals on the 14 December session. The Majority shared their views in terms of financial transparency.
Tughushi says that a range of initiatives have to be provided in order to get a completely revised media environment and believes that If the government really takes the agreement into account, it will be a step forward.
Chiora Taqtaqishvili familiarized the Majority members with the finance transparency details according to which media channels are obliged to present annual reports to Communications Commission, however, this mechanism will be more effective after the relevant bill takes effect.

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