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Election Subjects to Pay for Pre-Election Advertisements in Advance

09.08.2012

Nata Dzvelishvili, Media.ge

Election subjects will have to pay for pre-election advertisements in advance, according to the August 6 order issued by the General Auditor of the State Audit Office (former Chamber of Control).

According to the order an election subject shall pay, within a week, the fee for paid ad placement and/or purchase if airtime or newspaper space according to the tariffs set.”

The auditor’s order was presented to the TV companies by Kakhi Kurashvili, Head of Legal Department of the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) at the August 7 meeting. He also introduced the form the broadcasters shall fill out with regard to political advertising. Tariffs for political ads with the indication of lengths and programs for the next one week should be filled in the form out in a special table along with the data about political ads and agitation material placed in the previous week.

“Advertising tariffs are set by the TV Company on a weekly basis but this tariff should be common and non-discriminative for each election subject,” Kakhi Kurashvili pointed out.

Regulations apply to the public broadcaster, general broadcasting license holder TV companies and specialized license holders which decide to launch political advertising in their air.

Some of the TV companies voiced discontent in response to the recent order. Kavkasia TV director Nino Jangirashvili said the political subjects of previous elections were sometimes paying after the ads were aired.

“Of course, it’s favorable to us if payment is made in advance but we should not forget real situation. We might remain without ads at all,” Nino Jangirashvili said.

TV 9’ Director Kakha Bekauri complained against the part of the form which requires the broadcaster to determine the tariff according to minutes.

“I am selling my advertising time according to GRP. How can I determine the tariff now according to minutes? This way I am going to lose ads,” he said.

But, Kakhi Kurashvili said, this form is not going to be changed and TV companies will have to determine tariff according to minutes. He also provided information about the media monitoring to be held and said that the Commission is not going to conduct monitoring itself and will rely on the surveys carried out by the civil sector.

In case of the violation of the principles of fairness and impartiality, he said, the Commission is not going to apply sanctions.

“These principles are regulated by the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters. In case of its violation a citizen is entitled to lodge a complaint to the self-regulatory body of the broadcaster. Therefore, we cannot apply sanctions in this part. I just would like to call on TV companies to make these bodies as active s possible,” said Kakhi Kurashvili.

In case of the violation of the obligation the broadcasters assume according to the Election Code the punishment will be issued through court. The Commission will present a protocol to the regional court to apply the sanction set by law. At the initial stage the penalty is GEL 1,500 for the broadcaster and GEL 500 for the print edition.

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