Statement of IDFI on a Project of Rossiya Segodnya

News | Statements 13 November 2014

On November 12th the Russian news agency “RIA Novosti” announced that “Sputnik”, information and analytical radio station of “Rossiya Segodnya” [Russian: "Россия сегодня"] started broadcasting in Georgia . According to “RIA Novosti”, the programs will be in Georgian language and will be aired for four hours at the initial stage. However 24-hour broadcasting is planned for the future.

“Sputnik” will be transmitted on FM 101.4 of Tbilisi broadcasting zone. The owner of this frequency is “R-Radio”, which used to broadcast with the name of “Radio Monte Carlo”.

According to the information published on the web-page of “Radio Monte Carlo”, “R-Radio” has a broadcasting license from Georgian National Communication Commission (GNCC). The radio has license number B104 , (previous number 562), type of license: private radio broadcasting, category of license: general broadcasting , which includes commitment to transmit news programs.

The director of Ltd. “R-Radio” is Ketevan Kereselidze. It should be noted that in 2012 Ms. Kerselidze donated 30 thousand GEL to the “United National Movement” . “Society of The Media Invest” holds 61.5 % of “R-Radio”, while “Hit FM” holds 38.5%. The owner of “Hit FM” is Nodar Darsavelidze, while “Society Media Invest” belongs to Vakhtang Mgeladze. MR. Mgeladze also owns the following companies: “General Promotion” Ltd., “Media Production” Ltd., “Global Media” Ltd. and “Press House” Ltd.
According to the broadcasting schedule published on the web-site of “R-Radio” Ltd., news was broadcasted every five minutes . In the interview with “Ria Novosti” editor of the radio station Anton Laskhishvili claims that content will be transmitted in Georgian language and will not include any propaganda. As for November 13, 2014 (radio monitoring period - 14-17PM) the frequency FM 101.4 broadcasted a Russian-language program of “Monte Carlo”.

According to the Georgian National Communication Commission’s decision (N 369/6, 18 May, 2012) the license of the company has been extended until 2022. While defining license terms it was indicated that “R-Radio” was obliged to: take all reasonable steps to correct errors, ensure accurate and fair coverage, ensure clear distinction between facts and opinions, identify author of an opinion, and to fulfill other commitments regarding content as defined by “Georgian Law on Broadcasting”.

According to “Georgian Law on Broadcasting” broadcasters are obliged to take all steps in order to ensure factual accuracy and correct mistakes in timely manner (article 52, accuracy, correction and retraction)* . Any form of propaganda for war will be prohibited (Article 56, the same law). Also, programs, which create direct and evident threat for any form of racial, ethnic, religious or discrimination or to any group are prohibited.

The content of programs for “R-Radio“ is defined by the legislation of Georgia and license terms of GNCC. Despite this regulation, it is still unclear, how program priorities will be determined, especially, when in the frequency of “R-Radio” the other company’s programs are transmitted.

Considering high public interest, IDFI calls on “R-Radio” to disclose the contract which was signed between the company and “RIA Novosti”. It is also important that the company gives explanation on how they will control protection of editorial priorities, correct misinformation and disseminate its refusal.

The information about "R-radio" and “Sputnik” agreement has not been publicly available, however, according to the information, spread in television, the agreement between the Russian company and "R-radio" has been terminated.

National Communication Commission publishes a letter whish was presented by “R-Radio”. Commission revealed a fact about violation of license conditions from “R-Radio”. According to their report, they will start appropriate administrative procedures towards “R-Radio”.

GNCC will discuss about this issue in on the nearest public meeting


* Article 52. Due Accuracy, Correction and Retraction
1. Broadcasters shall take all reasonable measures to ensure due accuracy of the facts
cited and correct mistakes in a timely manner. (22.05.2012 N 6256)
2. Within 10 days of an initial statement being made by an Interested Party, the latter
is entitled to request publication of retraction or correction of the facts using the same
means and format, including duration, as the initial statement.
3. Correction and retraction shall not be claimed if:
a) the relevant request for publication is not made within the period of 10 days;
b) the initial statement refers to an indefinite group of people or does not allow
direct identification of the plaintiff;
c) a correction or retraction is not directly related to the initial statement or
length, content or mode of the reply exceeds what is necessary to correct or
retract in equal means and mode the facts stated in the initial statement, or the
reply contains correction or retraction of an opinion and not the facts stated in
the initial statement;

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