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Friday, 28 October 2016


Georgian mass media on trial without investigation

2011-11-01 20:45

Georgian mass media on trial without investigation. 23970.jpegGeorgia's "beacon of democracy" is shining brightly but does not make any warmth as we see from the government's refusal to set up an ad-hoc committee investigating into the facts of pressure on mass media.

It is clear that the parliamentary majority exists to push decisions favored by the president and reject oppositional initiatives. So, on the whole, voting results are quite predictable: journalists' lives depend on those who suppress them.


The proposal to set up a special commission on investigation of suspicious facts connected with Georgian mass media was made by Unity for Justice oppositional faction concerned over inertness after dispersed protest rallies and pressure on a number of TV companies. In particular, there was a suggestion to investigate into the raid on Imedi in 2007, pressure on Trialeti and Channel 25, as well as actions of law-enforcement bodies on November 7, 2007 and May 26, 2011.

As was expected, the draft was rejected at the voting. It was favored by 14 deputies against 72 engative votes from the dominant party.

Actually this is not the first session dedicated to creation of a special commission of inquiry. Deputies started discussing that in May, but the draft failed to collect 30 signatures from deputies. Then in September a new parliamentary faction Unity for Justice was registered to focus on protection of mass media interests.

"We can't demand, we can only ask to support our proposal. We want violence to be investigated and culprits to be punished. We suggest cooperation, seats in the commission will be equally distributed between the majority and opposition with a representative of the majority to chair it", - Jondi Bagaturia from the faction said at the plenary session.

However, Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters ignored the call thinking that adopted limitations for manifestations including a "normative on protection of journalists covering events" are quite enough. Ok, if it is so but mass media workers need to be protected against the police waving their batons, not protesters. As suggested, however, reporters should be protected by the law-enforcement bodies. Does it mean that people in uniform will have to divide in two groups: one to chase demonstrators, and the other to punish the first one protecting frightened journalists?

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