Georgian Parliament Speaker David Bakradze said on Tuesday that his country is currently debating new draft legislation that addresses issues such as the need for full transparency of media outlet ownership and the financing of media organizations, the Civil Georgia website reported. “Society should have full and comprehensive information about media owners, who is behind [media organizations] and how they are financed,” Mr Bakradze said, adding that the media-related draft legislation will generally improve the country’s media culture.
The draft law will be elaborated within the next two weeks, and will secure the transparency of media ownership and finances, he said. While some media activists say the proposed legislation is insufficient and that additional steps are required to improve media culture and fill legislative loopholes in Georgia, a group of prominent Georgian media and legal experts have launched a campaign to support it.
The perceived lack of such transparency, with particular reference to the country’s two biggest broadcasters – Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV – has long been controversial. The draft legislation also offers measures to reduce the length of time courts may deliberate in cases involving restrictions of public access to information, and to waive court fees for such cases. It also addresses broadcaster-licensing issues, problems stemming from perceived conflicts of interest in broadcast media, and clear-cut regulations for advertisements.
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