During the opening conference on media law in Tbilisi
During the opening conference on media law in Tbilisi

On 2 November 2019, IRZ and the Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani University organised the opening conference for a project on media law in Georgia. This project is part of the “Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia” and is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office. The project is targeted at:

  • journalists,
  • lawyers,
  • corporate lawyers,
  • representatives of non-governmental organisations and
  • students following courses in law and journalism.

The conference was opened by Sophio Kiladze, Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights in Georgia, Anri Okhanashvili, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs in Georgia, and Jan Bittner, representing the German Embassy in Tbilisi.

The presentations given by Georgian and German experts covered a broad spectrum of media law topics:

  • “Standards of Freedom of Speech and the Role of the Regulatory Authorities in Georgia” by Ivane Macharadze, Head of Department for the regulation of audiovisual media services
  • “Media Regulation in the EU for a Digital Internal Market” by Dr. Jörg Ukrow, Deputy Director of the Saarland Media Authority and Managing Director of the Institute of European Media Law (EMR)
  • “Privacy rights and Freedom of Speech in Conflict” by Prof. Dr. Hannes Rösler, LL.M (Harvard), a professor in civil law, private international law and comparative law and Director of the Institute of Media and Communications Law (IMKR) at the University of Siegen
  • “Freedom of Speech in Social Media: The Current Reality in Georgia” by Ass. Prof. Dr. Sergi Jorbenadze (LL.M. Bremen), a professor in media law at the Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani University and at the Grigol Robakidze University in Tbilisi
  • “Combating Hate Speech on the Internet and the Responsibilities of Social Network Providers” by Amélie P. Heldt, a junior researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research I Hans Bredow Institute (HBI)
  • “Media Problems in the Digital World” by Nata Dzvelishvili, Executive Director at the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics
  • “Fake news and Disinformation as a Legal Issue” by Dr. Jörg Ukrow
  • “The Reporting of Criminal Offences and the Limitations on Freedom of Speech” by Ushangi Bakhtadze (MS.c, Oxford), Head of the Research Institute for Criminal Law at the Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani University.

The opening conference on “The new Challenges for Media Law” was the first event held as part of the project running until the end of 2019 in Georgia. During the project, media experts from Georgia and the European Union will discuss a selection of media law topics with participants in several workshops and an autumn academy for students.