09 July 2020, 08:24
Georgia: new law questions full-fledged election coverage
The amendments to the Electoral Code of Georgia adopted by the Parliament are aimed against the pressure on voters near polling stations, but at the same time they prevent journalists from communicating with the electorate, political analysts believe.
On July 3, the Parliament approved the amendments in the third and final reading. Now, in particular, on the voting day, it is forbidden to post campaign materials within the radius of 25 meters from the polling station. Besides, it is forbidden to "create physical obstacles to voters' movement" within the same radius.
According to Vladimir Bozhadze, the head of the Centre for Democratic Development and Civil Society, the ban on contacts with voters at polling stations has to do with the fact that on the voting day usually there were coordinators of different parties near polling stations, who could put pressure on voters.
In the opinion of Zaal Andjaparidze, the programme coordinator of the International Centre for Conflicts and Negotiations, the new law creates artificial obstacles for journalists in their full-fledged coverage of the voting process, which is especially important in case of any violations. "The law prevents journalists from contacting voters to find out their opinions, and from covering the developments in the immediate vicinity of the polling station. This will prevent the full-fledged coverage of the elections," Mr Andjaparidze told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 8, 2020 at 06:27 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.
Author: Inna Kukudzhanova; Source: CK correspondent