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European Aid and Regulation of Minor Protection in Georgian Media: Stakeholder Pressure and Failure of Civil Society

Open Panel

Abstract

Co-operative forms of regulation performed by public authority and civil society have been widely used in regulation of minor protection in media of most Europian countries. Meanwhile, model of self-regulation in Georgian broadcasting have been chosen by civil society organizations, which have been actively involved in consultations on transformation of media policies in Georgia under the supervision Council of Europe nd European Union Joint Programme experts since 2000. This article discusses dynamics of changes in accountability mechanisms and role of different stakeholders (civil society, media, politicians) in implementation of European reccomendations on protection of minors and human dignity. All measures of regulatory enforcement in case of minor protection have been excluded from the legal framework since 2004. The law now expressly prohibits any interference by the courts, independent regulator or any other administrative body in resolution of these issues. Constitutional Court of Georgia confirmed prohibition of court appeal with argument that European Court of Human rights also prohibits discussion on societal moral norms in courts. Such regulatory framework is regarded by state officials as one of the most liberal of its kind in Europe; discourse of main actors of civil society – NGO activists and media outlets emphasizes only issues of media freedom and alter the balance of power in media to the detriment of minors and other citizens. Reports of different European monitoring bodies measuring democracy promotion effectiveness in the compliance of legislation with European broadcasting standarts are compared. Article discusses also effectiveness and potentialities of new modes of governance implemented by European Neighborhood Policy Programme.