The Levan Mikeladze Foundation and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) with the financial assistance of Open Society Georgia Foundation delivered a report concerning the National Commission of Communications on February 28th.
NGOs make recommendations to the National Communications Commission
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 1
Georgian National Communications Commission, established on the July 1, 2000, consists of five members. The members are appointed by the President for a period of six years. Irakli Chikovani is currently the Chairman of the Communications Commission.
The main goals and tasks of the Commission are as follows: the prevention of monopolistic activity in the field of communications in Georgia; the establishment of a fair and equal competitive environment; the introduction of modern technology; the establishment of effective cooperation with international organizations and the defense of consumers’ legal interests.
According to the Levan Mikeladze Foundation and GYLA, the Commission has failed to meet its responsibilities.
GYLA representative Mariam Gogosashvili stressed that Chair of the Commission Chikovani has a conflict of interest that has negatively influenced the Commission's activities. Chikovani is the former head of TV channel Rustavi 2 and currently owns shares in TV advertising agency Magi Style.
“The Commission has made wildly different decisions concerning various media operators. Though two media operators had almost identical cases the Commission punished one and let the other off." Gogosashvili said.
She also stated that the Georgian legislation does not ensure that the Commission is above political influence.
Both the Levan Mikeladze Foundation and the GYLA alerted Parliament to Chikovani's possible conflict of interest and asked that the Commission's impartiality be ensured. They stressed that Parliament should encourage NGOs' involvement in the monitoring of the Regulation Commission.
The organizations appealed directly to members of the Commission to be impartial, especially in issues concerning Georgia's move to digital broadcasting.
One of the members of the Commission Irakli Moseshvili thanked both organizations for their recommendations and stated that that the Commission does have some serious problems that need to be fixed. He also stated that civil society should be actively involved in the monitoring of the Commission's actions.
However, Moseshvili stressed that the Commission is actively involved in all matters concerning it.
“We have never denied being involved in any issue that relates to us. We are active and are ready to take part in all meetings regarding Georgia’s move to digital broadcasting.” Moseshvili stated, adding that Commission members have always tried to be impartial.