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Georgian journalists demand access to public information2010-05-04 15:02
"Give us public information!" was the headline at the front pages of 15 regional and 1 national newspapers of Georgia on May 3rd. In this way they marked the International Press Freedom Day. Journalists of these papers worked out the joint statement claiming the access to pibl;ic information to be the most acute problem for regional journalists.gt-en-newsitem-inside
Several days ago Freedom House spread its report. Georgia [126th position] is still I the category of partially free countries. Among the factors pressure on mass media was mentioned.
Eliso janashia, the editor of Tavisupali Sitkva ["Free Word"] regional newspaper called security, defense and law enforcement structures the hardest to access.
"They refuse directly," he said. "When we write a critical article, they don't contact. The Vice Mayor said directly he gives no comments for Tavisupali Sitkva. Our Mayor, Vano Saginadze, also said directly," she said to Echo of Caucasus radio. Janashia added they often turned to courts and often lose cases.
Threats and violence from the side of local administrative bodies and law enforcement structures also impede journalists. Several cases were registered in the Georgian ombudsman's recent report.
Among them is the beating of Nana Pajava and Ilia Chachibaya from Zugdidi on December 31st 2009, in the course of President Saakashvili's visit to the city. The first to be beaten was Chachibaya, who was filming the President skating on rink, falling and hitting his leg. Then Chachibaya and Pajava followed the motorcade to the regional police building. Pajava said in front of the building there were policemen and presidential guards.
"As soon as I turned the camera on trying to receive a comment from Kobalia, about 30 people attacked me, trying to take the camera away, and one from the President's personal guard ordered to arrest me for an attempt to film a state secret. I shouted at the top of my voice I filmed nothing ant-state. They took away my camera by force and broke it", she said- Kavkazskiy Uzel.