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Battle for broadcasting2009-05-05 12:44
Struggling for power the Georgian authorities and opposition are competing for their influence on broadcasting media. Demonstrations and protest actions unfold not only near the Parliament but at the Public TV building too. A well-known saying has a new interpretation: who owns power orders information. Even Freedom House recent report highlighted that the mass media in Georgia were only "partly free" tending to become "not free".
An epicenter of political confrontation is the building of the First Channel of Georgian Public TV. A tent camp - similar to the one near the Parliament - was set up there. The opposition believes that the authority-controlled media present the actions incorrectly. Besides the opposition calls for the return of frequently referred to Imedi TV to its legal owners - the family of late Badri Patarkatsishvili. His sister Mzia Totladze during her speech at a protest thanked Georgian people for their principled position stating Imedi would be returned to its legal owner, GHN reports.
Meanwhile the beginning of May was marked with new TV-related incidents. According to GHN the head of Georgian Iveria TV Giorgy Andriadze is asking world media for help. There is no freedom of press in Georgia, his statement goes, and the international organizations operating in Georgia in this direction, are inefficient. A couple days later it got about that the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) had adopted a decision on annulment of the Channel 9 broadcasting license. GNCC does not specify the reasons for license revocation, Kommersant radio notes.
Many other precarious stories connected with Georgian media made Western rights defenders that do not conceal their loyalty to Georgia critically evaluate the media situation in this country. According to Freedom House report Georgian media are on the verge of ‘Partly free' and ‘Not Free', InterpressNews reports. The report authors emphasize that Georgia is different from its neighbors for not imposing any restrictions on international media. "The situation in Georgia gives rise to concern but it remains one of the states presenting itself better in this sphere than other post-Soviet countries except for Baltic states", - Christopher Walker, the co-author of the report, one of the Freedom House heads states.
Freedom House report comprises 2008 data.
According to the authors except for Baltic states, the mass media in 10 out of 12 ex Soviet countries are "not free". Among 10 world countries with the worst indexes of media "freedom restriction" are three ex Soviet republics: Belarus, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan