On August 3, the Coalition for Media Advocacy held a news conference to make a statement on the enactment of must-carry regulations and steps to be taken by the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC).
Here is the statement provided without any alterations:
Adoption of the law on the obligation to transit a broadcaster is an important positive step, which should contribute to informing the voters prior to the elections. Therefore we think that this law should be enforced affectively in order to maximally secure access of Georgian citizens to diverse information in the limited period defined by the law.
Unfortunately, the steps that have been taken by the GNCC to date have significantly hindered the enforcement of the legislative act. The commission has failed to meet the obligation and publish the full information within the set term about the broadcasters and the cable operators authorized for their transmission under the must-carry principles. Moreover, GNCC representatives have misinterpreted the law through the media, which has misled the subjects within the regulation of the GNCC (television, cable operators). According to the GNCC statements, the cable operators authorized for the transit of the broadcaster are obliged to incorporate the respective channels in their package after they receive the written notification of a TV company and TV companies themselves will carry the signal. Such interpretation does not match with must-carry requirements, because Article 51 of the Election Code does not stipulate TV companies to send a written notification or carry the signal. It should be also noted that TV companies said their attempts to send the written notification to the cable operators at the address provided by the GNCC had failed.
We call for the GNCC to refrain from misinterpretation of the law and take active steps to contribute to the effective enforcement of the law.