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Joint statement of the Media Institute and Human Rights Center about the sanctions against TV-Companies

23.03.2020

 
Media Institute and Human Rights Center echo sanctioning of two independent TV-Companies – TV Pirveli and Main Channel by levying their bank accounts. The organizations call on the Government of Georgia, considering the particular role of the media in the difficult situation like the epidemic spread of the COVID-19, to take all urgent measures to remove the sanctions from the companies and enable them to continue functioning without any obstacles. 

According to the March 20, 2020 reports, the accounts of the TV-Companies TV-Pirveli and Main Channel were levied. The Minister of Finances Ivane Matchavariani clarified at the March 20 briefing that the TV-Companies were sanctioned automatically and nobody has issued any concrete decisions about it. 

All governments in the country actively used the selective tax policy against public broadcasting companies to oppress media. The Media Institute and HRC many times echoed and slammed the discriminative approach of the current authority to media organization when exercising its tax policy, which demonstrates different approach towards pro-governmental and critical media; these circumstances cast doubts over the arguments of the Minister of Finances. 

Because of the COVID-19 related situation, the decision to levy the bank accounts of the TV-companies is particularly alarming. In the course of the spread of the epidemics, it is urgently important to keep the population well informed to enhance the control of public healthcare and respect of human rights that may become significant challenge in the course of emergency situation in the country. 

We call on the Government of Georgia to take current situation into account and take temporary measures to remove the sanctions from the TV-Companies. 

Media Institute
Human Rights Center

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