A group of eleven watchdog and media organizations established on April 13 coalition for Media Advocacy to coordinate efforts towards improvement of media environment in the country.
The umbrella organization was founded by Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; Transparency International-Georgia; Open Society Georgia Foundation; Civic Development Institute; Eurasia Partnership Foundation; NGO for Civil Society; Georgian Regional Media Association; Georgian Regional Broadcasters’ Association; Regional Broadcasters’ Network; Journalistic Ethics Charter Council of Georgia and Media Club.
Founders say the coalition, apart of protection of journalists’ rights, would focus on issues like transparency in the process of issuing or modifying broadcast licenses by the regulator, Georgian National Communications Commission, as well as on improving access to public information.
A group of media and legal experts, some of them now affiliated with the newly established coalition, developed last autumn the package of legislative amendments, which, among other issues, also addresses measures for easing access to public information – the problem over which many journalists are increasingly complaining recently.
The issue is also raised in a resolution on Georgia passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) on April 13, which calls on the authorities “to evaluate, with a view to improving its implementation, the legal framework for the access to public information.”
On the same issue the U.S. Department of State’s recent report on human rights in Georgia says, that although the law stipulates public agency to release public information immediately or no later than 10 days after it is requested, “the release of requested information could be delayed indefinitely, and requests were sometimes ignored in practice.”