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The media regulation event marked the conclusion of the “@Media Societies – Georgia 2018” project” and was the last intervention by the IRZ in Georgia last year. The event, which took place from 14 to 17 December 2018 in Tbilisi, was targeted at representatives of the Georgian media scene. The project was supported by the German Foreign Office.
Under the scientific supervision of Thomas Wierny and Tobias Brings-Wiesen, three German media experts led workshops covering the following topics:
Manfred Protze (German Press Council): Self-regulation in the press and broadcasting sector;
Prof. Dr. Bernd Holznagel (University of Münster): Regulating social media;
Dr. Frederik Ferreau (University of Cologne): Revised guidelines for audiovisual media services.
Before starting to work in groups, there was a joint half-day opening event, which helped participants to familiarise themselves with the subject and in particular to gain a deeper understanding of the basic objectives and principles of liberal media regulation. The German experts then went on to explain the European regulations. Georgian experts took over for the presentation of the legal and market situation in Georgia.
During the course of the workshops, each working group documented the existing problems, worked on practical and regulatory approaches to finding solutions and developed recommendations together. The documents produced in this way should act as guidelines for the Georgians in their future work on the political and legislative process.
As a member of the Council of Europe, Georgia is governed by the mandatory provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). The country is also aiming to become a member of the European Union. The Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia, which came into force on 1 July 2016, includes some regulations on European media law to be implemented. In view of these objectives, the timing and contents of the workshop were particularly poignant.
“Hate speech“ and “fake news“ are only two of many topics covering media regulation which were discussed on 18 October 2018 at an international expert conference in Tbilisi. The IRZ, together with the Georgian Media Development Foundation (MDF), organised this conference for about 60 participants, among them lawyers, in-house counsels, journalists and representatives of the executive and NGOs.
The event was opened by Teresa Thalhammer for the IRZ, Dr. Eka Beselia, Chairwoman of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Georgian parliament, and Michael Fabri, Permanent Representative of the German Ambassador in Tbilisi.
The opening conference on “Modern Media Regulation“ was the first event in the project “@Media Societies – Georgia 2018“, which is financed by the German Foreign Office. Media experts from Georgia and the European Union will discuss selected regulatory issues and develop recommendations by the end of the year in different workshops under the scientific leadership of Thomas Wierny and Tobias Brings-Wiesen. To start the project, the organisers invited seven speakers from very different disciplines:
Nata Dzvelishvili, journalist and member of the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics,
Dr. jur. Frederik Ferreau, University of Cologne,
Prof. Dr. Dimitry Gegenava, law faculty of the Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University, Tblisi,
Cornelia Haß, Managing Director of the German Journalist Union DJU,
Mag. Peter Matzneller, LL.M. Eur., ”die medienanstalten“,
Prof. Dr. Magda Memanishvili, historian at the International Black Sea University of Tbilisi, and
Dr. Jan-Hendrik Passoth, sociologist at TU Munich.
They gave the participants a comprehensive overview of current challenges regarding media regulation. They dealt e.g. with the planned reform of the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, currently under discussion at a European level, with opportunities and risks of an algorithm-based online communication and the difficulties of covering these in regulatory terms, and with alternative strategies of the German media regulating authorities in enforcing statutory regulations, for example the informal addressing of influencers.
Another important issue was the self-regulation of the media and media representatives in Georgia and in Germany, who are facing similar problems despite the different political settings in which they work. This was one of the topics of the final panel discussion, which also referred to the next steps in the project beyond the conference. As this opening event met with great interest it is expected that the workshop phase of the project will also be successful.
On 21 and 22 June 2018 an international conference on the topic “Challenges with regard to criminal law provisions on violence against women and domestic violence” (Comparative overview of the implementation of the Istanbul Convention) took place in Tblisi. The event was organised within the cooperation between the IRZ and the Ivane Javakhishvili Tblisi State University (TSU) and dealt with current topics of criminal law as well as important aspects of the reforms of the Georgian Criminal Code, which have become necessary in Georgia because of the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
The conference was attended by representatives of the Georgian criminal justice system and professors of Tblisi State University. From Germany, Prof. Dr. Carmen Thiele, professor at the European University Viadrina, and Sebastian Sternberger, public prosecutor at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Wuppertal, contributed to the conference. During the two working days in Tblisi the participants had the opportunity to report about their practical experience and to discuss academic and practical aspects of the various legislative norms which have to be implemented into national law upon the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
The following topics were discussed:
The criminal offence of stalking according to German criminal law under the influence of Article 34 of the Istanbul Convention;
practical aspects of how to proceed in cases of domestic violence in Germany;
the prohibition of violence against women in the context of migration and asylum, as well as
the criminal prosecution of sexual violence according to the German criminal law under the influence of Article 36 of the Istanbul Convention.
The objective of the conference was to enable an exchange between German and Georgian law professionals. The presentations of the German and Georgian speakers initiated open and lively discussions and gave the Georgian colleagues an insight into the German criminal law system.