Why has the website www.metisargebeli.ge been abolished?
On 30th August 2012, Transparency International Georgia disclosed the fact that some of the ruling party’s promotion videos had been placed on the website of the governmental program ‘More Benefit to People’, metisargebeli.ge.
This action is a violation of Article 48(1b) of the Election Code of Georgia, which stipulates that the ‘use of any means of communication, information services and other kinds of equipment designated for use by state bodies and local government, as well as any organizations funded from the Georgian state budget’, against or in favor of any political party, shall be considered as an abuse of administrative recourses and, under Article 88 of the same act, must be penalized by a fine of up to GEL 2,000.
In connection with this issue, on 30th August TI Georgia addressed the Election Administration of Georgia. On the same day a news report was broadcast on the TV channel Maestro, in which political ads placed on the governmental program’s website are clearly visible.
On 4th September TI Georgia received a response from the Election Administration of Georgia in which the latter claimed that it is impossible to open web-links contained in our letter and asked for further information.
As we later discovered, after our letter had been sent to the Election Administration of Georgia the website www.metisargebeli.ge had stopped functioning and it is no longer possible to retrieve any information from it. However, the apparent screenshots from the website and the recording from the TV Maestro news report corroborate the existence of political ads on the governmental program website as of 30th August.
Accordingly, we urge the Election Administration of Georgia to respond to this situation in a manner consistent with Article 88 of the Election code of Georgia.