The Human Rights Watch has published the 2018 Report, which among many issues, describes the situation of the media in Georgia.
According to the report, in December 2017, parliament amended the broadcasting law, expanding the Public Broadcaster’s powers to, among other things, allow it receive additional revenues from commercial advertising.
“Private television stations and NGOs criticized the move, citing concern that the publicly-funded television’s entry to the already shrinking advertisement market, would threaten sustainability of smaller, regional broadcasters, and undermine media pluralism. The president vetoed the bill in January for those reasons, but the parliament overturned the veto”, reads the report.
The document also touches upon the Rustavi 2 case, saying that the ownership dispute over Georgia’s most-watched television broadcaster remained pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
According to the document, in October, Iberia TV suspended broadcasting, alleging that the authorities were trying to shut down the critically-minded broadcaster by worsening the owner’s financial problems. The owners alleged that the authorities proposed they forfeit the channel in exchange for resolving their tax debt. Authorities denied the allegations.