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Reform of Digital Broadcasting Accomplished Successfully

The Digital Broadcasting Agency of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia summed the digital broadcasting reform at the special conference held at the Courtyard Marriot Hotel.The presentation was attended by the Georgian authorities, representatives of the European Union, EBRD, USAID, the Consulate of China, non-governmental organizations, representatives of commercial structures and local and foreign experts.

The opening speech at the conference was delivered by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Dimitri Kumsishvili. The process of transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, performed work and the outcome of all those efforts were touched in their speeches by the Vice PM and Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the chairperson of the National Communications Regulatory Commission, Vakhtang Abashidze, the chairperson of the Digital Broadcasting Agency,  Nino Kubinidze, the Director of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for Caucasus, Bruno Balvanera and the head of the telecommunications direction of the Institute for Development of the Freedom of Information, Ucha Seturi.

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Dimitri Kumsishvili: “Today we can say that Georgia is the leader country, which has succeeded in transition to digital broadcasting in the shortest period of time. The success of the reform was the outcome off the coordinated and purposeful cooperation of Georgia’s executive and legislative authorities with the National Communications Regulatory Commission, Georgian TV-Radio Center, Public Broadcaster, Georgian Technical University, international and local experts and consultants and this was a very fruitful work indeed“.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili congratulated on the successful accomplishment of the reform to the audience and stated that Georgia was the only country in the region that had managed to conclude all the activities necessary for creating new technological platform in the shortest terms.

I’d like to thank every single person involved in the process of the reform, but special thanks to Dr. Nino Kubinidze for performing very serious management functions for effective implementation of this project. I’d like to express my gratitude to our citizens for accepting this reform with understanding”, – Giorgi Kvirikashvili said.

Vakhtang Abashidze was the next to offer congratulation speech. He emphasized that the main achievement of the reform was the encouragement of Georgian-made broadcasting content and the freedom of expression.

 “The reform has enabled us to adopt amendments that helped the broadcasters move from the regime of licensing to the regime of simple authorization. This is the top level liberal regime for broadcasters and only few countries can boast to have such liberal approach on legislative level around the world”, – Vakhtang Abashidze said.

EBRD Director for Caucasus, Bruno Balvanera also hailed the transition as the process that had greatly contributed to the EBRD activities.

“We believe that communication is a very important sphere, which can bring serious benefit to the country. The digital switchover has freed up frequency resources, improved quality and created a more liberal legislation. Georgia has taken a step forward to the EU and European standards”.

Chairperson of the Digital Broadcasting Agency, Nino Kubinidze summed up the work performed by the agency through the process of the reform and spoke about its outcome and benefit.

“The government ensured maximum protection of the rights of the country and its population and optimal, rational spending of budgetary funds in terms of efficient use of radio frequency resources and also by purchasing high category network devices and certified set-top boxes in the lowest price”, – Nino Kubinidze said.

The representative of the non-governmental organization IDFI, Ucha Seturi also reviewed the process of the reform. He spoke about the improved model of the media regulation and evaluated the process of the reform positively.

“Today we have government’s minimum interference in the coverage of commercial broadcasting and this happens only on regulation level and this is one of the factors that has been highly praised even beyond the borders of Georgia. I should particularly mention the part of the regional media – the licenses given for free was the precondition of the success of this process. It should be stressed that this model has been evaluated as the successful Georgian project by our partners”.

At the conference, the companies and persons, who had provided special support and assistance to the process of reform, were awarded with certificates of gratitude by Nino Kubinidze and Vakhtang Abashidze.

The event was concluded with the presentation of the documentary film “Digital Broadcasting Reform in Georgia” shot by the Digital Broadcasting Agency.

Nowadays, all the work, including legislative regulations, construction of state and private networks, social subsiding and information campaigns that are necessary for the new technological platform, has been concluded.

The technological change carried out under international obligations has fundamentally transformed the terrestrial television industry.  The full range of multifunctional services and the opportunities for effective use of frequency resource is the choice of the contemporary world and our country has become a part of this world. This reform has moved live TV broadcasting in Georgia on an absolutely new stage of development.