Facts of oppression of free media
14 June, 2012
Facts of oppression of free media

The Regulatory Commission ordered Stereo+ to disconnect the Ninth Channel and to pay a penalty for all provided services. Other events that unfolded in parallel: The capital’s mayor prohibited operation of radios in mini buses; somebody shot at journalist Ia Tinikashvili on Gori highway, near Mejvriskhevi village; supporters of the Georgian Dream were subjected to various types of pressure; famous athlete received threats, etc. Witnesses and victims claim that after the visit of American Secretary of State the facts of human rights abuse instantly soared up in number.
Davit Zilpimiani, Stereo+ Director: “The Regulatory Commission fined Stereo+ for providing the transmission service to the Ninth Channel. Our license foresees only radio line service. They demanded from us to stop transmission of the Ninth Channel by limiting the frequency zone. But this is impossible. It’s against all laws of physics. For 4-5 years other TVs too have been receiving the frequency automatically (unintentionally) but there was no problem. Of course, it’s a political decision. The problem  is - what shall I do with all these?
Why didn’t the Regulatory Commission not solve the matter earlier, during the Hillary Clinton’s visit?! Most likely, they were bashful. Moreover, during these 4-5 years other televisions were also getting airing frequencies but the Commission did nothing about it. I think that logic is the best argument. They did not wait for the US Secretary of State to step into the plane, swiftly quitting the play of democracy.”

What was wrong with the radios in mini-buses?
From now on, passengers of mini-buses will hear only advertisement texts. There will be no more news programs. Drivers say it is an order of the Mayor’s office.
Nino Kvariani, Director of Radio Palitra: “I found out that the day before the order was released, drivers were told to leave their mini-buses in garages. I do not think anybody would prefer radio ads over the radio news. Nobody cares about the opinion of passengers.”
Ia Tinikashvili, Radio Palitra journalist and at the same time head of Maestro TV’s Shida Kartli Bureau, was shot at but fortunately, she was not hit. The incident happened on the Gori Highway, while she was riding to Mejvriskhevi village.
“Suddenly I heard a strong bang and I felt an air wave from behind, while pieces of broken rear windows hit me on the back of my head. My companion Tamar Khorbaladze was sitting at my right side. Luckily, there was nobody behind me, in the back seat. Other girl was planning to accompany us but fortunately, she did not. Another good thing was that I was moving fast. Had I travelled about ten kmph slower, worse thing could have happened. The incident is investigated by Shida Kartli regional police.”
Against the athlete: What did the athlete do to irritate the powers that be even before Clinton’s visit? The important newest incident happened to the Georgian judo champion Ambako Avaliani. He was grabbed by unidentified men at St Nikoloz Church and reportedly, he was delivered to Lado Vardzelashvili, Minister of Sports and Youth who advised the champion to leave the Georgian Dream.
Shota Khabareli, former Vice President of Georgian Judo Federation says that athletes have been subject to “mentoring” attempts: “the stronger the support of the population for Bidzina Ivanishvili, the stronger the pressure on activists of the Georgian Dream. By punishing the famous figures, they want to deter regular citizens from “repeating mistakes”, hinting that whatever they do to the sportsmen, commoners will get it even harder. They are engaged in a full-blown war against Olympic champion Zurab Zviadauri and Kakha Kaladze, famous football player. They penalize anybody who has alleged contacts or business ties with the Georgian Dream. The Revenue Service officers were summoning them for interrogation in the wee hours. Recently I happened to be in a region. I am aware that the local Administration requests the citizens to dismantle the satellite antennas. They think, if you do not see and hear anything, you won’t say anything. That’s why they are fighting against free press.”

P.S. Representatives of This Concerns You to discussed  Pre-election Environment in the Country in resent Days.
Participants of This Concerns you held a special press conference on this today, the topics were the election environment in the country in recent days and attitude of the political parties towards the main demand of the campaign participants – to add must carry and must offer principles to the legislation.
Must-carry principle states that locally-licensed television stations must be carried on a cable provider’s system. Must Offer bans the general broadcasting to be switched from cable channels.

Other Stories
Face of Palitra Media Receives Golden Wing
Interview with Marika Darchia, distinguished female journalist

Twelve years ago, journalist Eter Jishkariani decided to set up the International Journalists’ Fund. Since then, the symbolic prize Golden Wing is annually awarded to journalists and cultural workers. So far, this has been a unique award for journalists and thus something greatly awaited for. Georgian Journal spoke with Marika Darchia, an experienced journalist and Creative Director of Palitra Media, who received the most intellectual journalist’s prize of the year.
IAGJ calls on Turkish colleagues to honor Georgia’s borders
The Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (IAGJ) calls on the Association of Turkish Journalists and the Syndicate of Turkish Newspapers to duly react to the visit of the delegation of the Turkish Federation of Journalists to Apkhazeti. According to Turkish media reports, Atila Sertel, who heads the Turkish Federation of Journalists and over 50 journalists paid a visit to Sokhumi on 9 May to sign a memorandum of cooperation.
Condemning visit of Turkish journalists in Apkazeti
Central Asian and Southern Caucasian Freedom of Expression Network (CASCFEN) join protests of the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (Co-founder of CASCFEN) about the leaders’ meeting of the Turkish Journalists Federation (TGF) in the territory of the Abkhazian separatist region of the Georgian Republic.
Azer Hasret, a chairman of CASCFEN has stated this in his statement released on 13 May 2014. He noted that the CASCFEN has learned with great sorrow that the Turkish Journalists Federation has conducted its leaders‘ meeting in Abkhazia – the breakaway region of Georgian Republic, which claims itself to be independent state but was occupied by Russia and is not recognized as an independent subject of the international law.
Prosecutor’s office launched investigation
The government will be fully responsible for the possible spread of illegally obtained audio and video materials, Director General of the Rustavi 2 broadcasting company Nika Gvaramia said. Nika Gvaramia calls on the government of Georgia to punish all those who participated in gaining secret recordings in his and Nino Shubladze’s work offices to the fullest extent.
New hurdle for GPB reforms
A special group will work on the issue of the Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). The group will try to solve the deadlock created around the GPB board after the verdict of the Constitutional Court. Majority member Eliso Chapidze claims that the court made a decision that would disturb the reform of the Public Broadcaster. Last year the Parliament amended the Law on Broadcasting, introducing a new rule for the formation of the Board of Trustees of GPB. The new rule envisaged pre-term termination of the authority of seven current members of the Board from January 2014. In December 2013 however, six members of the board filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court arguing that the termination of their authority was illegal and unconstitutional.
IAGJ Condemns Detention of Journalists
A group of Georgian journalists, including Bella Zakaidze, cameraman Vakhtang Lekiashvili, and assistant Mikheil Mikhoev, were detained in the village of Adzvi by Russian militants who have been occupying Georgian territories since the war in 2008. As the chief producer of the broadcasting company TV3 Maia Chuchulashvili told InterPressNews, the camera crew was detained by Russian occupants when they were visiting the village to cover the incident of Russians relocating the border into the village of Adzvi. The journalist had to report live from the scene at 17:00, but they lost contact.
New hurdle for GPB reforms
A special group will work on the issue of the Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). The group will try to solve the deadlock created around the GPB board after the verdict of the Constitutional Court. Majority member Eliso Chapidze claims that the court made a decision that would disturb the reform of the Public Broadcaster. Last year the Parliament amended the Law on Broadcasting, introducing a new rule for the formation of the Board of Trustees of GPB. The new rule envisaged pre-term termination of the authority of seven current members of the Board from January 2014. In December 2013 however, six members of the board filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court arguing that the termination of their authority was illegal and unconstitutional.
Who needs TV ratings?
Audit Department of the Revenue Service continues its inventory check of TV MR GE, the licensed representative of Nielsen Television Audience Measurement
IAGJ deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine 
According to reports by local media organizations and IAGJ (independent Association of Georgian Journalists) partners in Ukraine, at least 26 journalists were injured during the clashes between police and protesters in Kiev on 19 and 21 January. Most of the reporters were wounded by stun grenades or rubber bullets used by the police while dispersing a rally in central Kiev.
Speculations about GPB
Speculations about GPB
Georgian civil sector representatives are questioning governmental policies concerning the freedom and public orientation of Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB).The Coalition for Media Advocacy (CMA), which unites eleven civil society and media organizations, protested the current situation and appealed to parliament with a petition which over 550 individuals have already signed.
IFJ wary of State Involvement in Media Contracts
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its grave concern that broadcasting licenses and advertising contracts in Georgia are being unfairly awarded to organizations with close connections to government officials and members of political parties. According to IFJ’s Georgian affiliate, the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (IAGJ), the Georgia’s state-run body, the National Communication Commission, which is responsible for awarding broadcasting licenses, earlier this year awarded the private broadcasting license for Tbilisi to an organization called Energy Group, which is partly owned by Georgian politician Kakha Baindurashvili. He is also president of the public body, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Investigation in Gori”
“Muted” 2008 War Movie of Dutch Military Journalist

A Dutch military journalist made a documentary about his cameraman who got killed in the explosion that rocked the Gori centre on 12 August 2008. The film “Investigation in Gori – Death of Stan Storimans” by Jeroen Akkermans does not stop by this tragic event and goes to review the war-torn Georgia and developments unfolding around it at that time. As for the media casualties, the August war claimed lives of another two media representatives: journalist Giga Chikhladze and photographer Aleksandre Klimchuk of TV Company Alania were killed in the outskirts of Tskhinvali.
“THIS MUST FINISH”
“THIS MUST FINISH”
Broadcaster?Political war on Public

The expression “He who rules Rome rules the world” is interpreted in Georgia as “He who rules ‘Public Broadcaster’ rules the public”. Elections are approaching and the political temperature goes higher. The hidden-up-till-now war to take hold of the Public channel has turned into a direct confrontation.
Famous Singer Versus Rating Journal
Popular female Georgian singer Sopo Nizharadze sues the “Rating”, weekly magazine affiliated to Media Palitra holding. At the recent press conference, the singer stated that the magazine published an article about her private life in which every single word was false.
World Press Reviews Fracas at National Library
International press has spread information about the melee that occurred in front of Tbilisi National Library on February 8. Linking the chain of political events together, leading international media outlets report the causes and effects of the violent fracas between pro-Saakashvili parliamentarians and former political prisoners.
Diplomat Of The Year - Polls Are Already On
Unprecedented annual project established by Georgian Journal is launched again! The Diplomat of the Year 2012 will be revealed by Georgian Journal in February. Polls have already started. Georgian Journal, along with the publishing house “Media Palitra” have established annual tradition of awarding ambassadors at a grand ceremony, dedicated specially to the event, where the winner is identified.
Reports say "Rustavi 2" TV correspondents went on strike
Reports say Rustavi 2 TV correspondents went on strike.
`Georgian Media Needs Help`
`We intend to meet Philip Dimitrov one of these days`

As media in general undergoes different kinds of pressure including inseparable political impact, Independent Association of Georgian Journalists jointly with International Federation of Journalists are going to elaborate recommendations together with different international and local media organizations to let media outlets be free from political interests. President of Independent Association of Georgian Journalists, Zviad Pochkhua speaks about the initiative and its significance.
Media Without Political Influence

IAGJ: “Media must be freed of political pressure”

 

One month after the Parliamentary elections, Georgian media space experiences momentous events. However, despite wide “media revolution”, a part of experts believe that contours of free and fair media space remain to be seen.

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional organisation, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), today called on the newly elected Georgian parliament to prioritise reform of the broadcast sector that has fallen into post election disarray.

Terminated TV Channels and New TV Companies

What future for Georgian media landscape?

No one knows about possible new incarnation of former so called pro-governmental TV companies Imedi TV, Rustavi 2, Real TV and PIK. Experts suppose that these companies would emerge as carriers of different interests for various political groups.

Independent Association of Georgian Journalists appeals to the new government to implement reforms in media ownership

With the handover of power, the media market in Georgia is being redistributed among political groups, a process associated with the violation of journalists’ rights, closing down of television programmes, unfair dismissal from service and non-payment of wages.

IFJ Calls for Guarantees on Press Freedom ahead of Elections in Georgia

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the authorities in Georgia to guarantee independence of media ahead of the general elections due to take place on 1 October. "Past elections in Georgia have been marred by attempts to control media and obstruct independent reporting, "said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha.

election without media?
election without media?

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has passed a decision introducing regulations for filming inside polling stations during the voting day imposing less restriction than initially proposed.The decision was passed by 13-member CEC shortly before the midnight on September 24 with 10 votes to two. CEC members from the Conservative Party and Industrialists, both within the Georgian Dream coalition, voted against, citing that there was no need to introduce any regulations for making video recordings and taking photos inside polling stations on the election day. CEC members from ruling party, UNM, as well as Christian-Democratic Movement were among those who voted in favor; Labor Party representative was absent.

Larry King invited on Georgian opposition TV channel

TV channel of Georgian tycoon and currently opposition-leader Bidzina Ivanishvili declared that before the very important elections they’ve invited former CNN anchorman  Larry King as an adviser.