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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Monday, June 14
Journalists express solidarity with Kavkasia

Rezonansi writes that on June 10 a group of journalists rallied outside the Kavkasia TV company to express solidarity with it. Ten journalists from different companies protested against the rallies held outside the TV station by the Public Orthodox Movement and other religious and political groups.

Eliso Chapidze, the editor of Rezonansi who attended the protest action, said that the participants were protesting against the pressure being exerted on Kavkasia. She said that if certain people want seven people currently in prison for their part in a fight at the station to be released they should not rally in front of Kavkasia but the Police Main Division or the court. "It makes no difference who pressurises the media, the Government, the opposition or any religious group, the media should be free everywhere," Eliso Chapidze stated.

Nino Jangirashvili from Kavkasia met the protestors and thanked them for their support. Roman Kevkhishvili, organiser of the protest and an Editor with GeoTopNews, said that they had decided to do it to show the public that Kavkasia is not alone. "The protest action is being held because the station had much mud thrown at it by pseudo-Orthodox on May 7," he said. Aleksandre Elisashvili, a Kavkasia journalist, thanked his fellow journalists for their support and stated that every person has the right to hold a protest action but does not have the right to use bad language towards others. He also said that three of the detainees are innocent and they are doing their best to obtain their release from custody. He added that the detainees are being treated unfairly and this is unacceptable for the staff of Kavkasia.

‘The MIA and the Government are obviously behind this. You can see that the stars of Real TV have become members of the Public Orthodox Movement. Every evening they sit around in the studio of Real TV abusing Kavkasia. The authorities seem to have found a way to assault Kavkasia through marginal groups after failing to find any financial violations at this station. However I cannot understand why persons not involved in the quarrel on May 7 are detained. We have told the investigation that these people were not involved but they are still in custody. They seem to want us to lose our patience, but will fail to achieve this," Nino Jangirashvili said.

Saakashvili: We have a free media which is very, very aggressive and repulsive

Rezonansi writes that on the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Venice Commission on June 5 President Saakashvili stated, "The philosophy that I represent is very simple, and includes establishing an open society. This open society exists in Georgia and the free media is part of it. But we have a free media which is very, very aggressive and repulsive. We also have a freely elected Government and political parties with different structures… If you doubt in the open society, you will fail to develop your country."

On Saturday, the speech was discussed on Nino Zhizhilashvili’s TV programme PolitMeter on Maestro. Furthermore a discussion was held about the latest big issue, the discrepancy between the Georgian and English language versions of the draft constitution. The President scolded the Georgian media in Venice, calling the journalists ‘nasty’, but media expert Zviad Koridze said that the free media does not allow ‘aggressiveness and nastiness’ in its staff or output. He said that free newspapers and radio and TV stations live alongside aggressive and non-transparent media outlets in Georgia.

Koridze said there is not a sufficiently democratic atmosphere in the country and no one has the right to say that the media is "aggressive and repulsive" in Georgia. If there is anything unhealthy in the Georgian media, this is the Government's doing, as the Government does its best to control the electronic media.

Journalist David Paichadze supposes that Saakashvili’s statement about the Georgian media indicates t that he has a problem with it. "I cannot say what the President meant, but journalists do not like his statement. The President seems to have made the statement deliberately, for effect," Paichadze said. Media expert Ia Antadze said that the problem between the Government and the media is the approach of the Government, which believes that the media should be controlled. "The information policy of the national channels is controlled. That is a very dangerous thing. The President seems to be saying that the Georgian media is democratic. I wish the Georgian media was as "repulsive" as he says," Ia Antadze said.