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Debates Fuel Up After Georgia’s Public Broadcaster Releases Abuse Video

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, December 29
(TBILISI)--Georgia’s Public Broadcaster (GPB), the only media outlet in Georgia financed from the state budget, has released a video, reflecting a verbal dispute between poet Zviad Ratiani and policemen, during the police raid on December 24.

Ratiani claimed that he was verbally and physically abused by police. However, the Interior Ministry (MIA) stated that Ratiani was drunk and he insulted police officers when he was stopped late at night for a simple police check.

The ministry claimed they had a video reflecting the dispute, after a big number of poets and writers, as well as ordinary people condemned the fact.

MIA revealed the video at Tbilisi City Court on December 27 and the Public Broadcaster, appealed the ministry to hand the video to them to release it.

The video aired by the GPB was not full. Since the footage was edited, it did not give an entire picture of the dispute, showing mostly how the poet was using a bad language towards the police. Ratiani said he really used the bad language, but the action came after the police offended him for the orange colour of his winter coat.

Famous Georgian poets and publishers wrote posts after the release of the video, stated it was fabricated and the GPB did what the Georgian Dream Government wanted.

The people wrote that law enforcers were not still held accountable for their misbehaviours in the country, which needed to be addressed.

The opposition claims that the GPB is being controlled by the government since the Georgian Dream-affiliated Vasil Maghlaperidze has been appointed as the new head of the channel.

This year GPB received GEL 51 million financing from the state budget.