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President Margvelashvili Returns the Law on Public Broadcaster Along with Motivated Remarks to the Parliament

As the President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili has stated at the press conference today, he and members of his Administration have held meetings with all parties involved to scrutinize the Law on Public Broadcaster; therefore, they have obtained all-encompassing information from objectors and supporters of the draft law. 
At today’s press conference the President has explained two important issues that are not adequately addressed in the draft law. The first relates to media advertising market, while the second to the Public Broadcaster’s procurement.
"We know that Georgian Public Broadcaster is financed by tax money. This is the good that we get from the budget. I am glad that the Public Broadcaster exists in this form. We, citizens get this good from own financing.
Advertising market that encourages private televisions to grow is gradually declining in Georgia. Many independent and commercial channels compete in this market. It would have been problematic the Public Broadcaster that is financed from tax money to enter this market as one of the players.
First of all, it is problematic because media diversity is the good that is crucial for Georgian citizens and Georgia, as the democratic state. Media is the fourth branch of power in our country. Media cannot perform this role if it does not have resources and if media diversity is not ensured.
Accordingly, the Public Broadcaster, as the good, should not be opposed to the second and most important good, media diversity.
And when such privileged player whose financing is almost the half of the entire advertising market enters the market, naturally, competition is damaged. This could harm diversification of media that is one of the crucial democratic goods. I find this unacceptable,” President Margvelashvili said.
The second important remark concerns the Public Broadcaster’s procurement. According to the President, the law does not adequately address the procurement issues.
President Margvelashvili fully agrees to the view that the Law on Procurement creates problems to the Public Broadcaster, as well as to other agencies that buy intellectual property.
“Moreover, this law must be altered and we should reach agreement on the law that according to the EU regulations will become our law of action from 2019.
However, what is offered is not a replacement of the existing rigid law by improved European standards, but cancellation of regulations that are created to make spending of the tax money transparent.
Of course, I would have welcomed this step if it had been taken forward to the European standard, but it is not. Accordingly, today we will return this draft law to the Parliament along with these two main motivated remarks," President Margvelashvili said and hoped that the Parliament will consider this veto and make a decision in favor of media pluralism, healthy competition and transparency of state spending.

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