Kavkasia TV Director Nino Jangirashvili believes that even when Parliament approves obligatory transit (Must Carry) the problem of her TV-Company will not be solved and nothing will change in reality. According to Jangirashvili, the main problem for Kavkasia is covering regions, while the new law will not solve it.
According to the Chairman of Parliament David Bakradze, all the cable companies will be obliged to during pre-election period rebroadcast all the TV-Companies that have general broadcasting license.
“In the zone provided for by the broadcasting license (Tbilisi) Kavkasia was in the package of all existing cable companies anyway. We needed Must Carry for protecting cable companies from pressure and for covering regions,” Nino Jangirashvili told media.ge. According to her, it would be the best if all cable companies would have obligation to rebroadcast all the TV-channels and if broadcasting zones were not indicated in the new law.
“They may have an argument that there are many regional TVs and it will be impossible to rebroadcast them in difference zones, although there is nothing bad in the fact if all the TVs will be broadcasting all over Georgia. If it is possible that it can result in a certain chaos, than it will be necessary to introduce some filters,” Nino Jangirashvili stressed.
“Natia Kupreishvili, Executive Director of the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB) believes that including all the channels in the packages of cable companies is technically impossible. Additionally, business interests also have to be considered. According to her, there are difference license fees in different broadcasting zones.
“If the channels will be rebroadcasting in different broadcasting zones than why should they pay that fee? If a channel wants to broadcasting throughout Georgia it can just get the satellite broadcasting license and invest in the development of its business,” Kupreishvili said and stressed, in all the countries that have approved Must Carry principle the broadcasting zones are limited.
According to Nino Jangirashvili, the new law will promote only rebroadcasting of Maestro and the 9th Channel as other broadcasters have not had problems in their broadcasting zones before.
“This is a change made only for several TV-Companies. They should say it directly. Everyone fights just for Maestro and the 9th Channel and nobody remembers Kavkasia,” Nino Jangirashvili stressed. According to her by the new law the area of coverage of her TV-Company will be further limited.
“We have a license for broadcasting in Tbilisi, but the signal was reaching Rustavi. In case of improper interpretation of the given law we may not be able to cover the areas we did before,” she stressed.
GARB Executive Director believes that the problems of other broadcasters, along with that of Maestro and the 9th Channel will be solved. According to her, local cable companies are not rebroadcasting several regional TV-Companies. Such an example is Telavi TV-Company Tanamgzavri, Batumi Channel 25 and Gurjaani.
According to Natia Kuprashvili, it has to be considered that cable operators are launching their own TV-channels and do not want to rebroadcast their competitor channels in their frequency network. Kuprashvili clarified that there are no guarantees that those who are now in the network of providers will remain in the packages of those cable companies. That is why GARB requested adoption of Must Carry principle back in 2010 but Parliament refused to discuss the issue then.
“Today this issue is important due to pre-election period and the rebroadcasting of the Ninth Channel and Maestro is important; nobody would ever remember smaller broadcasters. Initiators of the new principle did not even hide that the main interest was rebroadcasting of those two channels,” Natia Kuprashvili stressed.
According to the legislative initiative on Must Carry principle prepared in framework of the This Concerns You Campaign obliges cable providers to include in their service package all the broadcasters holding general broadcasting licenses. This concerns the broadcasters which along with other programs also produce newscasts and broadcast both by frequency spectrum and satellite signal. For example Rustavi 2, Imedi and the First Channel are being broadcasted by frequency spectrum and satellite signal, while Maestro TV and the 9Th Channel are broadcasted only by satellite signal.
Must Carry principle became important in the society after certain cable companies refused to rebroadcast the 9th Channel and Maestro TV signals and Rustavi 2 and Imedi refused the Global TV cable provider to rebroadcast their signal, due to which Global TV lost certain number of customers.