Tobias Brings-Wiesen, Natia Kuprashvili, Mamuka Andguladze and Peter Matzneller (from left to right) at the final panel discussion
Tobias Brings-Wiesen, Natia Kuprashvili, Mamuka Andguladze and Peter Matzneller (from left to right) at the final panel discussion

“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.

Link to the Facebook page of the project: @mediasocieties Georgia 2018