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Studio Monitor Lodges Second Complaint Against Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV

March 10, 2011

Gela Mtivlishvili

The Studio Monitor has filed a second complaint against the TV-Companies Rustavi 2 and Imedi-TV at the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC). The “Monitor” blames the national TV-Companies in breaching the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting for the repeated violation of the estimated time regulations for sponsorship and TV-shopping; the organization requests that the GNCC impose fines on the TV-Companies.

Studio Monitor examined the activities of Rustavi 2 and Imedi-TV for several months. “In total we made about 50 remarks regarding news programs, films and other programs. Both TV-Companies systematically breached the advertisement time-limits estimated for the news programs,” said Monitor journalist Gia Mgeladze.

He added that the requirements of the law were neglected during the broadcasts of children’s programs and movies. “Mostly, the time of the advertisements was two times more than it is allowed by the law. For example, a children’s program can be interrupted only once in 15 minutes [at a length of] no more than 45 seconds. The total time which was allotted for the program “Kid’s News” on November 14, 2010 was 33 minutes and 25 seconds. In reality, only 23 minutes and 45 seconds was dedicated to the program itself. 10 minutes and 20 seconds were spent on advertisements, sponsorship and announcements,” said Mgeladze.

The Studio Monitor filed an initial complaint to the GNCC against Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV last year. The author of the complaint requested the GNCC to sanction the companies in accordance with Article 71, Part I of the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting. This article states that the Commission is authorized to notify in writing a license holder and/or the Public Service Broadcaster if the regulatory legislation in the field of television and radio broadcasting and/or the Code of Conduct are breached. The Georgian Media Legal Defense Center at the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) was legal the representative of the Studio Monitor.

Based on the December 24, 2010 decision made by the GNCC, the complaint of the Studio Monitor was satisfied. Rustavi 2 and Imedi-TV were notified. The author of the complaint hoped the decision would have a positive impact on the rights of consumers because if the TV-companies breach the regulations again, the Commission is authorized to impose the more severe form of sanction on them.

In accordance to the Law, one of the important functions of the Commission is to supervise and control the implementation of the law and the license conditions by the license holders and, in case of breach, impose the appropriate sanctions.

“Although the broadcasting regulation department at the GNCC is authorized to permanently monitor the activities of the license-owners in compliance with the Law on Broadcasting, the Commission has not discussed the issue pertaining to Rustavi 2 and Imedi since then. Nevertheless, Studio Monitor continued the monitoring of the companies and observed violations of the law by them again,” said Giorgi Mgeladze.

On March 7, 2011 the Studio Monitor filed a second complaint to the GNCC and requested them to impose fines on the TV companies for their repeated violation of the law.

GYLA lawyer Tamar Kordzaia says that in accordance with the law, the amount of the fine should be equal to 0.5 % of the annual income of the TV company. However, the fine shall not be less than 2, 500 GEL.

In accordance to the law, GNCC shall discuss and make a decision on the complaint of the Studio Monitor within one month.