Case consideration procedure at the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics
1. General provisions
1.1. The present procedure governs the issues related to initiation, consideration, de
1.2. In the course of hearing a case, the Board shall be guided by the Charter's principles and practice established based on decisions rendered by the Board as well as the best international practice. 

1.3. In the decision-making process, the Board is not obligated to refer to Georgian legislation on freedom of speech and expression or other international or national normative acts. 

1.4. The terms used in this case hearing procedure shall have the following meaning: 
1.4.1. Application - a written document submitted by an applicant to the Board in which the applicant requests to establish an alleged violation of the Charter’s principles by a journalist.
1.4.2. Applicant - a person who considers that a journalist has violated the principles of the Charter in conjunction to which he/she applies to the Board in the manner prescribed. A violation may not be relating to and /or affecting the applicant. The applicant cannot be an anonymous person. In addition, the Board may decide not to disclose the information about the applicant's identity due to the specificity of an application or case.
1.4.3. A decision of the Board - a final document prepared by the Board in the manner as determined under the present procedure.
1.4.4. The Board - a collegial body established in accordance with the Statute of the Charter.
1.4.5. A member of the Board - a natural person as envisaged by the Charter’s Statute who is duly elected by the General Meeting of the members of the Charter.
1.4.6. Secretariat of the Board - the body of the Council, which records applications/ statements and other documents submitted to the Board as well as any outgoing correspondences, provides the technical assistance for the Board in its activities and prepares a case for the hearing, and performs other instructions of the Chairperson of the Board.

2. Initiation of case consideration
2.1. The basis for the initiation of the case hearing shall be an application submitted.

2.2. If an applicant believes that a journalist member of the Charter violated the Charter's principle(s), the deadline for submitting the application shall be 3 months after the publication of the disputed material, and in case of a non-member journalist - 1 month.

2.3. The form of the application shall be approved by the Board.

2.4. The Secretariat of the Charter shall register and examine the admissibility of the application.

2.5. If the application does not meet the requirements determined, the Secretariat of the Board shall immediately notify the applicant thereupon and assist him/her in eliminating the defect.

2.6. If the defect is not eliminated within a reasonable time period, the application shall not be considered.

2.7. If the admissibility of the application is an extraordinary case [the assessment of the disputed content of a journalistic product is questionable, etc], the Secretariat shall transfer the case to the Board of the Charter to determine the admissibility thereof.

2.8. The refusal to the admissibility of the application shall be well-substantiated.

3. Preparation of the application for the hearing
3.1. The Secretariat of the Board, whose employees are not members of the Board, shall prepare the application for the hearing.

3.2. The Secretariat shall inform the applicant upon the decision regarding the admissibility of the application, and if the application is deemed admissible, the person /respondent against whom the application is filed shall be notified thereupon and given a possibility to review case materials, present counter-statement and relevant documents [apart from the exceptions provided for in paragraph 4.4]. If the Board considers that the issue brought up by the applicant can be settled through mediation, the Board sends to the parties the proposal on the actions which the Board may carry out to avoid the case proceeding and settle the case amicably. The Board may apply to the parties with the proposal at any stage of the case consideration.

3.3. If the respondent journalist cannot be identified from the application, the Secretariat shall carry out activities to identify the journalist / editor involved in the case.

3.4. If it is impossible to locate the person involved, it shall not hinder the process of reviewing the application and an unidentified author / journalist shall be indicated in the Charter’s decision.

3.5. The members of the Board are entitled to request the Secretariat to obtain any materials necessary for the case consideration. The Secretariat shall obtain any information after receiving such a request.

3.6. The Secretariat shall send an electronic version of the application and attached documents to all members of the Board at least three days prior to the case hearing.

4. Consideration of the application and decision making

4.1. The Board collectively reviews applications.

4.2. The Board meeting shall be authorized if at least two-thirds of the Board members are present/ participate in the meeting.

4.3. The Board members may express their opinion regarding the application in question or take part in the Board’s activity through remote means of communication [social network websites, e-mail, online video or audio calls] and the decision made in this manner shall be deemed valid.

4.4. In exceptional cases, if the Board considers that the submitted application and the content of the controversial journalistic product are sufficient to render a decision, the Board may take a decision without the parties’ participation, including without requesting additional information/statements of the parties.

4.5. The Secretariat shall summon the parties to participate in the case hearing. The failure of a party (parties) to attend the meeting shall not hinder the consideration of the application.

4.6. The decision shall be taken by a simple majority of votes, but no less than 5 votes.

4.7. Unless a particular decision [violation or non-violation of the principles] is supported by at least five members, the decision shall be deemed not adopted and the protocol of the hearing shall indicate for and against arguments of the Board members.

4.8. The members of the Board are not entitled to refrain from voting / expressing their opinion in the decision-making process.

4.9. The Chairperson of the Board shall open and preside at the Board meetings and in case of his/her absence, the Board meeting shall be chaired by a member elected by the Board members for this purpose.

4.10. The Secretariat shall inform the members and parties about the issue in question, provide a brief outline of the application, complaint, statement submitted by the respondent [if any] and other circumstances at the Board’s disposal.

4.11. The members of the Board have the right to question the parties.

4.12. After hearing the parties, the meeting shall be closed for the Board to render a decision.

4.13. If after the deliberation, the Board considers that additional information is required or obtained information shall be better analyzed or processed, the decision-making process may be adjourned and the decision delivered at any subsequent meeting or in accordance with paragraph4.3.

4.14. The case materials [application, counter-statement, etc.] shall be public, and only in exceptional cases, case materials may be fully or partially classified on the ground of reasonable arguments of the Board.

4.15. The Board shall render a decision independently. The discussions of the Board members shall be confidential. All members may express their opinions regarding the issue.

4.16. The Council shall make a decision by open ballot.

4.17. The decisions shall be formulated in a written form.

4.18. The Board decisions shall be well-reasoned.

4.19. Any member of the Board who does not agree with the decision can provide a different opinion that shall be attached to the decision.

4.20. The decision shall consist of four parts: Introduction, Descriptive, Reasoning and Resolution Part.

4.21. The Board decisions are public and published on the Charter’s webpage, and sent to the parties electronically.

4.22. The Board meetings in the part of hearing the parties shall be public unless the Board opts for its closure due to the specific nature of an issue.

4.23. Any other issues related to the Board activities, which are not regulated by this procedure, shall be resolved by the Board.