Thirteen political parties and the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) agreed on February 22 on the format and the programming of the new political channel, which will become available on GPB’s Second Channel.
The channel, which is expected to go on satellite to cover entire country, along with Parliament’s plenary sittings will also provide live coverage of committee sessions; as well as “daily, non edited and live coverage of the opposition parties.”
“The parties will be provided with one hour coverage, which they shall sequentially rotate among themselves. The program will be broadcasted during primetime (22:00-23:00),” according to a memorandum signed on February 22.
According to the memorandum, which was drafted as a result of series of consultations, facilitated by the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI), the channel will also organize debates at least once in a week on the draft laws being discussed in the Parliament. During non-session period it will air debates on various political issues. The memorandum is in force until next parliamentary elections in 2012.
Full service provided by the channel will only be available to political parties, which have signed the memorandum: Christian-Democratic Movement; National-Democratic Party; On Our Own; Democratic Party of Georgia (all four are part of parliamentary minority group); the ruling National Movement party; the Georgian Troupe (led by MP Jondi Bagaturia); Party of Freedom (led by MP Konstantine Gamsakhurdia); Conservative Party (led by Zviad Dzidziguri); Party of People (led by Koba Davitashvili); Movement for Fair Georgia (led by ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli); Traditionalists (led by Akaki Asatiani); Our Georgia-Freed Democrats (Irakli Alasania) and public movement Defend Georgia (led by Levan Gachechiladze).
The memorandum, however, envisages that GPB’s Second Channel will provide airing “unedited, full versions of press-conferences and briefing” of those parties, which refused to sign the memorandum but fall under the criteria defined by the document. Ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia; as well as National Forum, Labor Party and Georgia’s Way, New Rights Party and Republican Party fall under this category.
Republican Party leader, Davit Usupashvili, said his party refused to join the memorandum because it would not change situation on in broadcast media. He said his party was instead offering to establish an inter-party group, which would work on elaborating measure on how to tackle political pressure on national broadcast media.