IDFI's three-year strategic litigation ends successfully: Media Academy was obliged to provide public information

News | Rule of Law and Human Rights 11 January 2024

As a result of IDFI's strategic litigation, important practice has been developed. The Supreme Court did not share the position of the Media Academy, a non-profit organization of the Communications Commission (hereinafter - ComCom),  and upheld the decisions made by the lower courts, which considered the Media Academy as an institution responsible for providing public information. As a consequence of the litigation, interested persons are given the opportunity to request and receive public information directly from Media Academy, and It may not refuse to provide information to any person on the grounds that it is not subject to the legal requirements for the provision of public information. 

 

In 2018, ComCom founded a legal entity of private law - Media Academy, one of the fields of activity of which is the platform of media criticism. In January 2020, IDFI requested information from the Media Academy about its activities and finances. The application, as well as the subsequent administrative complaint submitted to the ComCom, was rejected. According to  ComCom, the Media Academy was not an administrative body and was not responsible for responding to public information requests.

 

In April 2020, IDFI initiated strategic litigation against Media Academy. Our goal was to confirm that the Media Academy was not an ordinary private law legal entity; it was established and financed by an administrative body, exercised public legal powers, was accountable to the people, and therefore, the obligation to provide public information should have been applied to it. 

 

In the course of legal proceedings, on February 25, 2021, the administrative claim was granted by the court of first instance, while the  Media Academy’s appeals submitted before the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court were unsuccessful. In particular, on October 20, 2021, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the first instance court, and on December 21, 2023, the Supreme Court declared Media Academy’s cassation appeal as inadmissible. Overall, the Media Academy was considered an administrative body in a functional sense, which is bound by the requirements of the Constitution and legislation of Georgia regarding accountability, therefore, the Media Academy was obliged to release public information requested by IDFI.

 

 

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