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Media restrictions in power

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 27
Despite protest from media organizations’ side restrictions concerning media outlets on election districts have already come to force.

Based on the changes cameramen and photographers, as well as observers and party representatives, will be able to move freely and film from anywhere inside the polling station (except the voting booth) for ten minutes; after ten minutes, they will have to work from a specially allocated place within the precinct and continue filming from there.

The CEC decision specifies that a ballot box should be visible from this specially allocated place. However, there is one more thing…if a cameramen or journalist leaves the precinct for any reason he will not be able to come back inside.

Those people who have the right to film in the polling stations will be able to film and take photos of pre-voting procedures before the opening of the polling stations and post-vote procedures, including ballot count. However, a chairperson of the precinct election commission should select a place not closer than three meters from an object which is filmed where from the cameramen will be able to fulfill their jobs.

Based on the initial version represented by the CEC, only 5 minutes would be foreseen for journalists and others to film inside the polling station.

According to CEC chair the restrictions will not be spread on filming by mobile.

Despite stating the document is in power negotiations concerning the issue are still ongoing between CEC and media representatives.

According to Kharatishvili, some points of the document would be explained in details to the media representatives. However “abolishment of the document is not planned.”

The media representatives still hope that the “unjust” document might be banned. Journalist, Shorena Shaverdashvili stated that there still is “small window” that the decision might be abolished.

The document is also protested by the Non Governmnet organizations. According to them the document sets “unprecedented and inadequate restrictions” to media.