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GNCC Fines Main Channel

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Friday, February 14
The Main Channel was fined by the GNCC over a video showing a difficult social situation in which Bidzina Ivanishvili was seen and heard: “He destroyed the national currency”.

As the statement of GNCC reads, they have imposed responsibility under the law for political advertising aired during the non-election period by the main channel. The broadcaster was fined with 2500 GEL for violating Georgian legislation and failing to comply with the Commission's decision

The GNCC first discussed the topic of the main channel at a public hearing on December 30. According to the commission's decision, the main channel aired an advertisement that, according to the GNCC, violated the requirements of the Georgian legislation governing distribution.

“The Commission has warned the Main Channel that they had violated the Georgian legislation, including the General Administrative Code of Georgia, the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting, the Law of Georgia on Advertising and the Rules of Procedure of the Georgian National Communications Commission. Immediately we called on them to remove the video. However, the broadcaster did not fulfill this obligation,” reads the statement.

According to the commission, the monitoring carried out by the commission revealed that political advertisements were removed from the broadcaster, not within the deadline set by the commission, but after 23 days - on February 5.

According to the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting, the broadcaster should be fined up to 0.5% of its annual income for violating the law, which in the case of the Main Channel amounts to GEL 6,479.38.

“Taking into consideration that the video clips were already removed from the main channel, the Commission exercised discretionary power and imposed a minimum fine of 2500 GEL on the broadcaster for repeated violations,” reads the statement.

Nika Gvaramia, Director General of the Main Channel, does not agree with the decision of the Georgian National Communications Commission.

“We are told that the Election Code regulates our behavior, at this time we are not subject to this Code, especially in the non-election environment. We are told that the elections of 2020 will be potentially harmed by this. We have the full right to express our attitude in any form, whether it be the editorial policy in the stories or in our airtime. I don't know what advertising time means to them, this is airtime,” reads the statement.

The Main Channel was established after the owners of Rustavi 2 were changed. Most of the employees of Rustavi 2, including the director of the company, moved to the Main Channel.