“This Affects You” Proposed New Draft-Law to the Parliament
Campaign “This Affects You” member nongovernmental and media organizations are about to launch second stage of the Campaign which aims to introduce amendments to the Election Code and to make the media environment more flexible during the pre-election period. On May 7, the Campaign participants submitted packet of the legislative proposals to the Parliament of Georgia which had been signed by 35 NGOs and media organizations. The draft-amendments are open for other signatures as well.
The legislative proposal is focused on the following issues:
1. Improvement of the vote-counting procedures during the Election Day –according to the project, the number of voters shall be recorded in the final protocol before the ballot boxes are open in precincts. It will prevent the election commissions to change the number of voters who had taken part in the process throughout the day. The amendment will blockade the possibility to amend the final protocol if the unacceptable number of voters had arrived at the precinct. The counting mechanisms were farther clarified in the proposals.
2. Ensuring transparency of activities of the election administration – online-transmitting of CEC and district election commissions’ sessions during pre-election campaign;
3. regulation of usage of administrative resources – restrictions on the usage of administrative resources shall go in force from June 1 of the Election Year; [according to the legislative proposal] the number of people, who shall not have right to participate in the election campaign, will increase; the activities of the officials from public law legal entities, regional and local governmental agencies will be regulated during the election campaign; propaganda in favor of any candidate during the events/presentations organized with state/local budget is prohibited; more accurate regulations and clear restriction for the usage of budget resources will be worked out; the responsibilities of the local self-governmental bodies and election commissions, standards of transparency of their activities and sanctions for the violation of these obligations will be further cleared up.
4. Ensuring media-equality for all political parties during the election period: definition of secret advertisement was clarified; the rules for the release of social, paid and free political ads, obligatory discussion and response to media-monitoring results carried out by Georgian and international organizations from the Communication Regulation Commission, rules for organizing debates and providing information about ongoing election procedures will be worked out.
5. Authorities of the Georgian Communication National Commission in estimating broadcasting transit, copyright and neighboring rights were worked out - according to the proposal, the cable network operators will be entitled to re-transmit TV-signals of Georgian Public Broadcaster, Community broadcaster and satellite broadcasters. Simultaneously, the Broadcaster is held responsible to sell its right to retransmission to cable operators without monopolist prices on the market and other conditions which can unlawfully breach the balance on the broadcasting market.
On February 13, non-governmental organizations working on electoral issues and media entities formally launched which aims to improve the electoral legislation and environment. As part of the campaign, around 170 NGOs and media entities, as well as 1500 individuals, signed a petition calling for amendments to the electoral legislation. The petition was presented to Parliament on February 17 along with .
On February 23, non-governmental and media organizations met with the population in 7 districts of Tbilisi and 8 cities of Georgia as part of the campaign to increase their awareness on recently adopted amendments to electoral legislation. During the meeting they informed citizens about the restrictions imposed by law. Participants of the campaign distributed materials with respective information among citizens. They informed people on possible consequences of the amendments. During the meetings, citizens signed the . On March 1, representatives of organizations authors of the legislative proposal met representatives of Legal Issues Committee of the Parliament. On March 2, members of the campaign organized a round-table meeting in order to inform diplomatic corps, international organizations and political parties about drafted by them legislative proposal. At the bureau meeting on March 5 David Bakradze stated that addition to the legislation will be made so that not to limit activities of NGOs and international organizations. On March 7 campaign responded to Mr. Bakradze's statement saying that such an addition is indispensable, but not enough. On March 9 an appeal for inviting OSCE/ODIHR long-term Election Observation Mission to Georgia was submitted to the Administration of the President, Parliament and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
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