New round of harassments of journalists
11 November, 2010
New round of harassments of journalists

Political opposition appeals to World Federation of Journalists

Last week, at night, unidentified persons attacked Temur Doliashvili, cameraman of Georgian TV Company Maestro in front of his own house. He was hit on the head with a blunt object.

He was delivered to a hospital in an unconscious condition. Fortunately, he survived the armed assault.
According to the journalist’s father, who notified the TV Company Maestro of the incident, it should not be ruled out that the assailants were law-enforcers themselves.

We should mind that this is only a suspicion of the parent. He said that before losing consciousness his son said the attackers were in police uniform.
General Director of Maestro TV Company says that lately there was one more attack on a Maestro staff member. Specifically, Davit Tskhomelidze, script writer of Abebi (Pills) program, was physically harassed in front of his house. In both instances investigations were launched but details are not known so far.
TV Company Maestro is at a loss for want of reasons behind the attacks against its staff members. Victim Davit Tskhomelidze recalls that one of the attackers was dressed in police uniform.
A part of non-Parliamentary political opposition issued a special statement about the attack on the cameraman of TV Company Maestro. The statement of Georgian Labor Party distributed from its office reads that frequent assaults against the Maestro staff members “are benefits of Merabishvili-Saakashvili regime.”
The Labor Party calls for the World Federation of Journalists “to send a special group to Georgia as soon as possible to investigate the situation on the spot.”
In parallel, the initiative group presented a draft law at an open meeting of Parliamentary faction of Christian-Democrats, which is expected to regulate the situation in media space. Identification of media owners, financial transparency of media outlets, increase in accessibility of public information and quick and inexpensive justice – these are key issues dealt by the draft law, prepared by this initiative group consisting of media representatives and lawyers.
The meeting was attended by the members of Christian-Democratic Movement, media experts, journalists and Irakli Moseshvili, representative of regulatory commission. During the draft law presentation, Lasha Tughushi, Editor-in-Chief of Resonance newspaper said that the purpose of expected legislative change was improvement of media space, full transparency and increase in the safety of journalists, and that it required differentiation of Labor Code. He pointed out that the stronger the role of politics in media, the bigger the problem of media ownership, as well as bias and monopolization of an opinion.
Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democrats stated that demand of financial transparency and expected complete publicity for every penny entering TV companies, may harm smaller TV companies such as Maestro and Kavkasia because businessmen may refrain from funding them due to concerns of revealed identity and resultant risk of problems whatever they could be.
However, Kakha Bekauri, General Director of Maestro, who was among the persons attending the open meeting, disagreed, saying neither the financial transparency, nor openness of any other issue, would create a problem for the Maestro management.
Experts noted that finances are directly linked to the identity of owners as the problem lies not only in the offshore zones themselves but also in the origin of local capital which enabled registration of such companies.
Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democrats, said that the draft law is more than acceptable for him and that he would do his best to help promulgate the draft law.


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