President vetoes amendments to law on Broadcasting

The president announced his decision to veto in the afternoon. Photo by the president’s press office., 15 Jan 2018 - 18:29, Tbilisi,Georgia

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has vetoed the amendments to the Law on Broadcasting, which intended to boost the rights of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster (GPB), the only TV channel in Georgia receiving more than 50 million GEL state financing annually.

The amendments adopted by parliament in December 2017 enable GPB to release commercials on working days in order to generate more money for development, which was labeled a "forceful strike” by almost all private broadcasters in the country.

The changes read that the GBP can redirect the input of state financing for encouraging start-up businesses, TV-radio and online products.

Based on the amendments the Law on State Procurements will not expand to programs prepared by independent legal entities that will take up no less than 25 percent of GPB broadcasting.

Restrictions provided through the Law on State Procurements will also not expand to programs, films, and TV series aired by the GPB as well as to resources which are needed for making such products.

Margvelashvili stated that he opposed the possibility of releasing commercials by the GPB as well as the planned changes in the Law on State Procurements.

I believe that the GPB’s entering the commercial market will be problematic and create problems for media diversity,” Margvelashvili said.
I also believe that the Law on Procurements  should be changed in line with European standards. This is essential for the transparent spending of the people’s money,” Margvelashvili said.

The president has already sent his remarks to parliament, where the lawmakers will either approve the remarks and put changes in the draft, or override the veto.

Overriding the veto requires at least 76 votes in the 150-member legislative body.

The draft was prepared by the employees of GPB, media experts and majoritarian legislators.