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The News in Brief

Tuesday, November 3
It’s very disappointing to see some individuals suggesting that violence is a legitimate way to act – British Ambassador

“Nothing justifies incitement to violence,” said Alexandra Hall Hall, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Georgia while commenting on the Rustavi 2 developments and the recordings of Mikheil Saakashvili’s phone conversations.

As the diplomat has told reporters, it is not the time for violence and revolutions.

"I am extremely glad that politicians have been issuing statements in the last few days making very clear that there is no intention to organize any violent kind of incidents. Of course we understand that media freedom is a very important value and it’s something Georgia has made very great progress with, and I can understand why there is so much interest in the Rustavi 2 case. However, nothing justifies the incitement of violence. When I heard about the recordings, of course, on the one level I’m concerned as people’s private conversations appear to be listened to, but on the other hand the content of the recordings is disappointing because Georgia has made very good progress in its democracy and this is not the time for violence, for revolutions. The way to progress is a track Georgia is already on, building its democracy,” Alexandra Hall Hall has told reporters.

She has also responded to the midterm election assessing it positively.

“I was able to observe the elections in Sagarejo yesterday and what I saw was very decent central election commission officials conducting the elections in a very professional manner, and Georgia’s citizens taking part in the elections in a very civilized way. This is what Georgia should really be proud of. And so it’s very disappointing to see some individuals suggesting that violence is a legitimate way to act. I really commend all to make clear that they do not support the idea of violence, urging calm dialogues. I hope in the next few weeks we, and the international community as a whole, continue to help all the affected parties address the concerns via peaceful dialogue. We are not here as mouthpieces of one faction or another. We are here to support Georgia’s people and the country to move ahead,” the British Ambassador said.

Airing of torture-depicting video records on TV company “Obiektivi”

Over the last few days, video footage depicting torture is being aired through the TV company “Obiektivi”. The mentioned video records are repeatedly aired in the format of an advertisement, in a way which makes it possible to identify the victims. We consider that it is unacceptable for the media to air the mentioned videos in this way, because this violates the right to privacy of the victims and might have dire psychological impacts on both victims, as well as their family members and the broader public. At the same time, the video records can become easily accessible to the underaged.

We consider that it is possible to draw public attention towards the impunity in relation to the torture, and this must be done in consideration of the media ethics and respect towards human rights. The law of Georgia on the Public Broadcaster directly prohibits a broadcaster to air the materials, which are violating the dignity and basic human rights of the humans and citizens, or materials that contain obscenity. Through its actions, the TV company “Obiektivi” is violating the rules of ethics of a broadcaster. Regardless of the timing of airing this information, the broadcaster has the obligation to safeguard the right to privacy, to safeguard the public from the damaging and insulting materials, as well to as safeguard the principles relating to airing the antisocial and criminal acts. The broadcaster is obliged to ensure, among others, the safeguarding of the legitimate interests of the victims and potential perpetrators, as well as their family members. At the same time, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) underlines that the state must ensure effective investigation of the cases of torture, must ensure that all perpetrators are identified and that the responsibility is imposed upon them. The state is obliged to investigate the torture cases comprehensively, while the public has the right to receive objective, unbiased and comprehensive information about the state of the compliance with those duties (to investigate) by the government.

The mentioned video records represent an important evidence for the purposes of such investigation. The video records also have the public value; it is possible to preserve them and make available to the public for the strictly defined purposes and in such a form, which makes it impossible to identify the victims and in such a way that those records are only accessible to those, who have the possibility to give prior consent on viewing those video records (which automatically excludes the possibility for the underage youth to access them); this can have the aim of informing the public and preventing the repetition of such crime. Those aims must strictly exclude the possibility to abuse the video records for the political purposes, for triggering violence, calling upon or provoking the violence.