Following the April 11 decision reached by the Constitutional Court of Georgia no license will be any longer required to launch cable broadcasting. Which broadcasters is this change going to embrace? What regulations are going to be applied and what steps the Georgian National Communications Commission is planning to take? - Kakhi Kurashvili, Head of GNCC’s Legal Department discussed given questions with Media.ge.
- Mr Kakhi, which broadcasters is this change going to embrace?
- The Constitutional Court decision is going to embrace broadcasters not cable operators. The broadcaster is the person which conducts broadcasting through cable, satellite or frequency. Out of the Georgian Law on Broadcasting the court removed the norms which stipulate licensing of broadcasters’ activities. The license is longer required if the broadcasting is being conducted through cable. Licensing has been maintained for satellite and frequency-based broadcasting.
- Is this change going to affect those who already have a permit to broadcast through cable network or it is going to be applied to the subjects willing to launch broadcasting off of April 11, 2012?
- The liabilities set by the law for broadcasting license holders are not going to embrace these persons since their activities have been included into unlicensed activities. And those willing to launch cable broadcasting will be no longer applying to GNCC.
- The Code of Conduct for Broadcasters and the Law on Broadcasting shan’t be applied either?
- No, of course. Accordingly they won’t be included into the GNCC regulation area and they won’t be paying regulation fee.
- Aren’t they going to hold any status?
- According to the Constitutional Court Decision today they are not subject to either any legislative regulation except for the entrepreneurial legislation. And that in case the cable broadcaster is an entrepreneur or a non-profit legal person.
- Aren’t the cable broadcasters going to be subject to any regulation or are you planning any changes?
- We think this regime is going to provide unequal conditions to broadcasters. In fact the type of activity is same, they conduct broadcasting through different technologies. This is to say, we keep some under control while others are subject to no regulation. That is not right. Moreover, the regulations oriented on the protection of viewers from illegal production look unclear. I mean the liability to protect juveniles from harmful influence, and protection of copyright and related rights so on.
- What is the way out from your viewpoint?
- Broadcasting activity requires some kind of regulation and we are thinking of working out some legislative proposals within the framework of the court decision. Most likely we’ll apply to the Parliament to switch broadcasting activity into authorization regime.
- What’s the difference between authorization and licensing?
- In case of authorization you are notifying the Commission of launching activity. In case of licensing you make a request for permit. You have got to get a permit to launch activity.
We need authorization to be aware of the number of cable broadcasters, to apply the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters and the Law on Broadcasting to the authorized persons too to prevent viewers from harm. We are thinking of authorizing cable broadcasters, to make them notify us of the launch of broadcasts and their will to undertake the liability to adhere to the Code for Broadcasters.