Four NGOs – Transparency International Georgia (TI), Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) and the Civil Development Agency (CiDA) accused Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili in putting pressure on the media and violating human rights.
NGOs criticize Prime Minister
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 7
PM Gharibashvili criticized Rustavi 2 for not releasing information concerning its journalist’s younger brother who committed a crime. Gharibashvili also “scolded” the channel’s administration for not supporting Asaval-Dasavali newspaper journalist Zaza Davitaia, who was beaten up by a pro-United National Movement group Free Zone member several days ago.
Head of TI Eka Gigauri expressed her concern on how the PM could find time to express so much interest towards the certain case. She stressed that the PM might have some people around him who provide him with information about journalists and their family members. Gigauri also states that such statements might be taken as a message or warning by journalists that put pressure on the media.
Head of the GYLA Kakha Kozhoridze admitted that the prime minister also violated a juvenile’s presumption of innocence. According to him, trials for juveniles are closed so that under-aged people’s rights are more protected.
Kozhoridze states that Gharibashvili voiced such facts in terms of the juvenile that might identify him.
The Prime Minister often states that the media is free, he is very proud of the fact that Georgian media freedom is reflected in the international surveys.
However, Gharibashvili also accuses media outlets and NGOs of partiality in some cases.
“When we have reason to express our criticism towards media outlets, we should talk about it,” said the PM.
“Unfortunately, media outlets as well as NGOs often reveal bias. More communication is needed between the government, civil society and the media in order to talk openly about the shortcomings,” the PM stated.
Media analyst Ia Antadze states that people and not public servants should decide whether they like or dislike a media organization.
“The Prime Minister’s responsibility is to worry about the Georgian people. It’s his responsibility to earn the trust of the people. Likewise, it is up to the media to serve people and the people should decide whether they trust us or not,” Antadze said.