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Non-transparent, suppressed, legally politicized – wow!2010-10-04 19:08
The authorities' total control over Georgian journalists has been many times stressed by the opposition. However, their numerous appeals to the West stirred no emotions of the civilized world. Now Sakartvelo's media have got the chance to gain the long-awaited freedom of speech: the mission of OSCE Bureau for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has characterized the media as politicized in its report on local elections held in the republic.
"Many media are much pressed by their owners and the information on media owners is non-transparent, - the document goes. - In the course of elections, the high price for paid advertising limited the candidates in their media campaigns". OSCE experts consider Public TV of Georgia to be the only balanced TV company in the country.
After such an unflattering opinion, one would expect excuses from the Georgian authorities. But no way: Chairman of CEC Zurab Kharatishvili referred to Public Television as to an example for the rest of the companies and that's it. Not a world about what should be done to cure the complicated situation in the media environment.
What is the reason of the CEC head's calmness? Perhaps, Khartiashvili still remembers the last-year rating in the RSF organization, where Georgia ranked number 81. I think he will be objected by founder and editor-in-chief of the Version Georgian newspaper Maya Purtseladze. She is sure that international ratings of the last years do not reflect the real situation in the country. "The independent press of Georgia is facing hard times", - she says. - I do not rule out the possibility that now, after OSCE's objective report, the floor will be given to the famous Georgian journalists who fought the government in their time".
For instance, let's take President of Georgian Times mediaholding Malkhaz Gulashvili. Not so long ago, he left the country because of being persecuted together with his family by Georgian authorities and settled in Russia. Now Gulashvili says that the main Georgian media are accountable to NGO Freedom Institute, which is "fighting traditional Georgian values and promoting immorality, homosexuality and abuse of Christian shrines". President of The People's Orthodox Movement accuses the current regime of the current situation: "They are the reason of all the mischief of the Georgian people because it's their ideology that is ruling the country and their ideology led to a war with Tskhinval. As long as this institution is alive in Georgia, there will be peace neither in Georgia, nor in the entire Caucasus", - he stated.
Let us remember Inga Grigolia, the link woman of the Political Week program. A year ago, the program was shut down, while Grigolia decided to go to London. Meanwhile, just like many other Georgian journalists, she once affixed her signature under the appeal to the US Vice President Joseph Biden asking to pay attention to the government's dictate and the party's pressure over the national TV channels in the republic.
As is known, the media employees demanded that the authorities should give them the right and the opportunity to work freely, make information on TV channels' founders more transparent and cancel monopoly for distributing printed media used by the government as a leverage for pressing and intimidating the press. "Mr. Vice President, we ask you to get concerned about these issues and provide a relevant assessment", - the appeal went. However, Biden never paid attention to the Georgian journalists' mishaps despite his visit to the republic.