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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Monday, November 1
Opposition on media freedom

A group of opposition parties think that media freedom is one of the guarantees for improving the elections environment, Rezonansi writes. Members of a media monitoring group created during 2010 elections who monitored media coverage of the May 30 local elections say that holding free and transparent elections is very much dependant on free media.

Editor of the newspaper Rezonansi and a member of the media monitoring group, journalist Lasha Tugushi remarked that media monitoring held during the 2010 elections showed that TV can influence public opinion and influence peoplesí choice on elections day. Tugushi also talked about media ownership transparency, saying it is essential and important to know who is behind each particular TV channel and whose interestsí each TV channel serves.

New Rights Leader David Gamkrelidze says that media independence and freedom should be discussed in the context of improving the elections environment and he said he will raise this issue with the working group on the issue. This group has not been formed yet but authorities expressed their readiness to sit with opposition representatives to discuss election conditions.

Floods in western Georgia

Heavy rain has led to floods in villages in Khobi district, Samegrelo region. Houses were flooded, while poultry and cattle were killed. In addition winter stores and cornfields were destroyed. About 150 families have been affected, with some being moved to provisional shelters. 24 Hours reports.

Rescue services and local government are tackling the problem but have been hampered by poor weather conditions. A special commission was set up to estimate the loss. The swollen river swallowed a car with 6 passengers in the village of Narazeni, Samegrelo region. Eye-witnesses say the river took the car when its driver tried to cross a bridge; rescuers managed to save five passengers, but the 34-year-old driver died, his body was found in the river on Sunday morning.