16 June, 2011

Tax services began simultaneous inspection of several firms that are part of our Media Holding.

Preventive act of solidarity was conducted and under the initiative of the ‘Council of Journalistic Ethics Charter’ more than a hundred journalists, NGO and political parties’ members and ordinary citizens gathered at ‘MediaPalitra’ office.



Actually, if authorities are honest with people they mustn’t be afraid of professional solidarity. Professional solidarity is the basis of civil society and the civil society should be considered by government of a civilized country as a partner, not as a foe. We discussed in details juridical and moral aspects of this and other events with Vakhtang Khmaladze, a constitutionalist.


V.K. – According to the law it’s a legitimate process but it’s to be considered that inventory shouldn’t hinder functioning of an enterprise. If such a thing happens, it’s infringement of a law and the enterprise is authorized to demand compensation of losses through court. As for the planned inspection, it should be clarified – what is its schedule.

It’s more interesting to find out why all six enterprises of the Holding were included in the list of planned inspection. Such lists are made through a computer program. If this is so, the probability that a computer ‘by chance’ displayed six enterprises of one and the same Holding equals zero. This gave rise to the doubt that the planned inspection is not based upon a legitimate basis. This assumption is quite naturally connected with the functioning of ‘MediaPalitra’ and presumably the authorities don’t like it. Specifically it’s about showing of videos of May 26 rally dispersion through internet-television, a component part of Media Holding. The information gained by the journalists was disseminated without restriction. Neither me and probably nor you have obvious documents proving this but the logics of unfolding events enables us to have such a doubt.

Q.- Representatives of almost all mass media means gathered in ‘MediaPalitra’ yard…

V.K. – It’s to be noted that expression of solidarity was manifested despite ‘MadiaPalitra’. It is very significant. My saying of this is backed by the fact that quite accidentally I witnessed the beginning of this process. Representatives of all mass media except those controlled by authorities gathered at ‘MediaPalitra’. Appearance of even those who in ordinary life have no or, possibly, strained relations clearly indicate at increased civil self-consciousness.

I think expression of solidarity to ‘MediaPalitra’ will be enough a sign for the authorities to be very cautious and not to dare to do something they are able of doing somewhere else. It’s quite obvious that if tax service finds out some infringements in the Media Holding organizations and it isn’t well documented for the people, it will be followed by keen reaction not only on part of only journalists but of parties and NGOs as well. What’s more, in case there is even an attempt of repressive actions it will result in huge scandal.

Not only the Georgian people but international organizations as well as diplomatic corps will display sharp response. For this reason I don’t think the authorities will dare take such a risk.

We as well as authorities should consider that such pricks won’t be left without attention or reaction.

Q. – Gigi Ugulava, the Mayor of Tbilisi declared at the on-line conference: ‘When the motorcade rushed in and 10 policemen fell down, information was momentarily spread that policemen were massively killed. It’s like this in the whole world – the police react very keenly on a policeman’s death. Excessive use of force was conditioned by this. Afterwards, the Minister’s interference became obligatory in order to neutralize the emotional charge’.  What are the legislative and moral aspects of this topic?

V.K. – I’ve heard this during a TV broadcast. One moment was very significant: excessive use of force continued for about ten minutes. From the purely legislative point of view, Ugulava in this case is a witness, having reliable information that is one of the important proofs for investigation. I mean his rank as well as public declaration that he had enough information about the event. In the ‘testimony’ of the witness he actually confessed that on May 26 the police used excessive force. Besides, it’s seen well on the video-tape how they beat the handcuffed citizens with batons when taking them out from the ‘Rustaveli’ cinema at the end of dispersion of the rally. There is no legal justification of excessive use of force and there can’t be any. Let’s draw a simple example: suppose we, together with a friend, are walking along the street. Suddenly a car rushes from the corner and runs the friend down. The driver stops the car, gets out of it and comes to us. Does this give us right to attack him and start beating, and what’s more – kill him? According to the law, if we act like that we’ll be perpetrators. We’ll be even a worse perpetrator if the driver runs away and we, being angry with him, start crashing other cars and beating the drivers. Was not it the case at the Rustaveli Ave? If they got irritated due to somebody’s action, why did they attack others? Can it be embraced by any law? I think this example is quite sufficient to say that despite anything the police didn’t have to use excessive force.

From Ugulava’s words it follows that if somebody shot a policeman did they have to perform manslaughter on the basis of excitement?


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