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PM Admits Georgia Should be More Effective against ‘Any Propaganda’

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 7
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that the country should act effectively against any propaganda, responding to the Russian-backed forum in Tbilisi on September 5-7, dedicated to “peacebuilding” in the region.

The PM commented about the media forum financed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foundation, after the opposition parties and NGOs strongly criticized the event and stated that the Georgian government does not have any strategy to fight the Russian propaganda in Georgia, of the country which occupies 20 percent of the Georgian land.

“We should have an effective mechanism to prevent any propaganda that may negatively impact on the population of Georgia,” Bakhtadze said.

He stated that the Russian "soft power" is a challenge not only for Georgia but for the West in general and the European civil population.

“However, the Georgian people made its decision a long time ago. This is not just a political and geopolitical decision; it is our choice that Georgia should return to the European family,” Bakhtadze said.

The opposition believes that the current Georgian leadership is “too loyal” to the occupant country and takes no effective steps to prevent Russian propaganda.

They believe that the policy will bring no good to Georgia and gradually the Georgian issue may be removed from the international agenda.

16 leading NGOs also criticized the absence of the government strategy against the Russian propaganda, “which aims to change public view on Europe,” and called upon the government to prevent the events backed by Russia in Georgia.

The media conference in Tbilisi was organized by two Russian NGOs – North-South Center and Press Club Unity, together with Tbilisi-based newspaper Georgia and the World, which is owned by a Georgian businessman who is active in Russia and who has been awarded by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The South Caucasus forum with the name “the Role of Media in Confidence-Building in the Region,” provides seminars and roundtable discussions about political and media issues in the region.