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Foreign journalists carry out their own investigation2008-11-06 09:52
Recently, more and more journalists from various countries are coming to South Ossetia to see everything with their own eyes and carry out their own personal investigation.
It would not have been possible for them to do this before. Tbilisi banned foreign journalists from entering the republic's territory from Georgia, and called for Moscow to take the same action.
Recognizing Georgia's territorial integrity, Russia made this concession. This was what led to Georgia's victories on the information front. The international community only learnt of events in the conflict zone from Georgian journalists or foreign ones, but who were working outside South Ossetia.
I began to keenly understand the true seriousness of this problem when I myself came to Tbilisi in January this year during the presidential elections. The day before the vote Mikhail Saakashvili gave a press conference for foreign journalists. Afterwards, colleagues from China, Japan and Norway, who had found out that I was from South Ossetia, started coming up to me. They complained about the absence of information and were extremely interested to know what was happening in the republic at the time, what conditions people were living in and what their mood was like.
After Georgia's military aggression in August, Russia stopped carrying out the role of conciliator. The need to respect Georgia's territorial integrity had faded, which it had only itself to blame for. Since then foreign journalists have been going to South Ossetia from Russia, specifically from North Ossetia. Since this only became possible, unfortunately, after the end of the war, they have only been able to see its consequences. But it is better late than never, as they say.
Echoes of actual events have gradually started to be heard in the West. To begin with nobody there admitted the possibility that there could be a different version, believing that only one existed - that officially conveyed by Tbilisi. However, reliable reports have become more and more prominent in the foreign press and, in the end, they have made the international community doubt Georgian information about the August conflict.
One of these journalists is Enrico Piovesana from Milan, a correspondent for the international media holding Peace Reporter. He was literally staggered by what he has seen and heard in South Ossetia. It dramatically contradicted the information which had been reported in Italy. A series of reports published by Piovesana and a radio appearance by him created an effect similar to a bomb exploding. And this is no surprise. The journalist spent about a week in Tskhinvali. Refusing to stay in a hotel, he moved in with an Ossetian family so that he could get a better feel for local life and all its everyday problems, such as the recurrent absence of electricity, water and gas...
Some journalists have not just restricted themselves to carrying out their professional duties. What they have seen has made such an impression on them that they have decided to bring the truth to the international community by any possible means. Hence, for example, after member of the European Parliament, political analyst and journalist Giulietto Chiesa had visited South Ossetia, he sent an open letter to Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini stressing that a dangerous situation was unfolding on the border between Georgia and South Ossetia, and that this was a result of Georgian aggression against the Ossetians. And in his letter Chiesa did not conceal his alarm at Saakashvili's recent statements, believing that they could lead to the resumption of military actions.