Georgian parliament supports advertising company Alma’s appeal to ban hateful ads

Alma announced that it will ‘not put up hate speech banners’ and addressed the Georgian parliament with an initiative to ban hateful advertisements on October 3. Photo: Parliament of Georgia., 08 Oct 2021 - 17:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian parliament’s committee on legal affairs has supported the appeal of advertising company Alma to ban hateful advertisements earlier today.

Based on Alma’s legislative proposal, the electoral code or other legislative acts should be amended in order to restrict or prohibit the placement of hate speech banners in self-governing cities and municipalities.   

The ruling party MP and chairman of the committee on legal affairs Anri Okhanashvili has stated that he supports the ‘idea, concept and content’ of the proposal, however, noted that ‘the legislative proposal is not presented in the form of a bill.’ 

This issue will be regulated only during the pre-election process or beyond it, this will be revealed as a result of the discussion,” Okhanashvili said. 

Opposition MP Levan Ioseliani from Citizens party also supports the proposal, however, states that ‘the bill should be prepared with broad involvement’ of political parties.  

What legislative framework needs to be found in order not to undermine freedom of expression needs to be the subject of more extensive consultations between Georgian Dream [ruling party] and the opposition,” said Ioseliani. 

Anti-opposition billboards appeared in Tbilisi on September 17 ahead of the October 2 municipal elections which depicted opposition political leaders and managers of opposition-minded TV channels as ‘bloody.’ 

Despite the several complaints filed in the Central Election Commission (CEC) over the billboards, the CEC found no legal basis for drawing up a violation report on the placement of anti-opposition banners. 

Alma addressed the parliament on October 3 regarding the issue of ‘hate speech banners’ and asked ‘to enable the agencies to legitimately refuse to provide advertising services to the customers’ in such cases.

The opposition European Georgia party has demanded advertising company Alma to put up their banners which depicted the billionaire and founder of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party Bidzina Ivanishvili as a pig earlier today, however, the advertising company has not commented on the matter.