URGENT: CoE experts role in the prohibition of Right of Court Appeal in Georgia in cases Broadcasting
Beginning from 2002 CoE experts (mainly former media managers) conduct intensive seminars with aim to introduce CoE standards and to improve broadcasting legislation in Georgia:
But, unfortunately, finaly in practice strange measures are introduced. Beginning from 2006 articles 14.2 and 59.1, paragraph 2 of 59.1of Georgian Broadcasting Law forbids appeal to any administrative organ, court and Commission of Communications not only in cases of any ethic norm or professional standart in Broadcasting Law, but also on right to reply (article 52) or content regulations (56), also in any case of broadcasters’ self regulation decision.
Instead of European standard of co-regulation strange model of “self-regulation” was introduced (article 14 of Broadcasting Law), which means that consumer can complain only to broadcaster, but after the broadcaster reply could not appeal to any administrative organ, court or GNCC (Georgian National Communication Commision). All regulatory mechanisms : sanctions and fines for broadcasters have been canceled.
In 2001 Minor Protection law was introduced which was based on EC recommendations and Transfrontier Television directive. After our attempts to implement these laws in life all these innovations have been paused by parliament after introduction of Broadcasting Law in 2004 and all measures of minor protection have been excluded finally from the legislation in
Moreover, now this anti-constitutional prohibition is planned to be written also in Code of Conduct. In new Code indecent speech, scenes of violence and suicide are allowed daytime in cases of broadcasters’ interest.
We think that all these changes are against human and children rights, we have sent protest letters from 2007 to several CoE media department, but nothing changes, gradual regress is salient in practice of GNCC and in every draft of Code of Conduct prepared under supervision of CoE experts during last three years
So we see, that CoE experts have produced more than 6 expertise and after these consultations minor protection in broadcasting do not exists during 4 years, appeal to court in case of right of reply or minor protection is prohibited, we can conclude that these experts are interested only to help broadcasters commercial interests.
We think that 4 years are enough time to evaluate direction of changes in broadcasting sector legislation and practice especially when all law-making activities in this sector are stimulated and consulted by EC program experts. We can evaluate progress of EU and EC organized programs after 2003 as complete failure, because there is tremendous shift after introduction of Broadcasting Law in 2004
It is notable that in all EC organized seminars (on Media Council, Code of Conduct, Public Broadcaster) from civil society participates mainly one NGO – Liberty Institute http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Institute_(Georgia). and this organization becomes initiator of all changes after 2004.. We, representatives of several NGO-s have not been admitted to any CoE seminars on Code of Conduct, all changes in broadcasting law have been initiated by this institute, drafts of Broadcasting Law, Code of Conduct are written only by this organization.
We asked CoE media department to let us attend meeting on 12-13 June 2008, but no reply.
From 2004 GNCC refuses to process any complaint on minor protection, in 2006 GNCC and parliament decide to exclude all fines for broadcasters (see http://www.media.ge/eng/news_detailed.php?id_numb=1575)
and to forbid consumer appeal to GNCC, court and any administrative organ.
All deadlines have passed for hearings in Constitutional Court about the ban of court appeal in case of broadcasting complaints
Georgian media never gives information about situation on Code of Conduct and this is extra argument that in Georgia civil sector and media is managed by one business group, so EU and CoE programs serve as extra financial help and entertaining activities for these “NGO” activists. GNCC only serves for broadcasters commercial interests and citizen and viewers interests are neglected absolutely.
EU report about Georgia some how reflects situation in Georgian Broadcasting, but it does not reflects prohibitions of Court Appeal Right and Right To Reply.
Finally, we evaluate EU and CoE help as complete failure also in civic sector, because after drastic changes in broadcasting legislation we asked Public Defender, all mental health, children and human rights organizations in Georgia to evaluate current situation in minor protection and legislative regulation of broadcasting sector (especially prohibition by parliament of court appeal), but nobody responded. As we know many of them are trained and funded by EU, and if they are not interested in such neglect of democratic rights, this means that EU aid is waste of money. This also means that civil society do not exists in Georgia and main NGO-s are only GONGO-s. So EU and CoE money is spent only in defence of commercial interests