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New Media Union to Defend Freedom of the Press

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, December 20
“An attack on one media outlet means an attack on the whole media,” Mamuka Glonti co-founder of Maestro TV said on Monday. The initiator of the establishment of a media group which will serve as the foundation of a future media union, Glonti, together with other media outlets argued for greater protection of the rights of newsmen. Accusing the government of violating the rights of the media for years, Glonti explained that each media organization should follow NATO’s standards in protecting one another’s interests. The media union, according to Glonti, would end the media’s constantly self-defensive policy. Stressing that they are “fighting against illegality,” Glonti emphasized the necessity for informing the international community about violations in Georgia.

Members of the newly established media group, chaired by Lasha Tugushi editor-in chief of Rezonansi newspaper, will work out regulations for the future media union. Talking of the problems in the media environment all around the country, Tugushi worried about the “serious dangers” Georgian media is facing nowadays. As Tugushi told The Messenger, the working group would adopt rules on the future organization and will inform society about the details later. Encouraging the media outlets to unite against violations, Tugushi underlined that all measures, including demonstrations would be used “in the framework of the law.”

“When the representatives of the media get familiarized with our regulations they will have the option, whether they want to join us or not,” Maestro radio's Khatia Kvatadze said hesitating to name the future organization's members. The media group protecting journalists’ rights would actively work on media-related issues and ensure freedom of speech. “I will see whether the regulations will be acceptable for me and then I will decide,” Dimitri Tikaradze editor of Alia newspaper explained. Welcoming the initiative of her colleagues, Irma Inashvili head of the media union Obiektivi suggested that media should protect themselves both from the government and opposition.

The members of the newly established media group will elaborate regulations with the support of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) and then start their activities. Encouraging every media outlet to unite under the umbrella of a new media union, Tugushi promised to consider the fresh opinions of people interested in freedom of speech in Georgia. The union which doesn’t yet have a name will be unveiled after the presentation of special regulations in the near future.