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NGO Criticizes Rustavi 2 for TV Show about Zourabichvili

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, November 20
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) criticized the opposition-minded TV station Rustavi 2 for their political talk show “Accents of Week”, when they portrayed ruling Georgian Dream (GD) supported presidential candidate Salome Zourabichvili with the head of GD founder and Chair Bidzina Ivanishvili, Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze and other GD officials.

ISFED Executive Director, Mikheil Benidze says that during the whole program the viewers could see faces of different politicians on Zourabichvili’s body, adding it was not a nice message to the society.

“The action of placing heads of male GD politicians on Zourabichvili’s body was absolutely not necessary and such actions negatively affects the pre-election environment,” he stated.

According to Benidze, this action, as well as depicting GD main politicians on Zourabichvili’s posters before the runoff, was “insensitive in terms of gender equality.”

Rustavi 2 TV Director General, Nika Gvaramia responded to Benidze, saying the TV program aimed at emphasizing GD's activity, which depicted mainly male politicians on Zourabichvili’s election billboards.

“R2 has an internal regulation council that studies alleged violations of journalistic ethics and you can address them with your concern,” Gvaramia told Benidze.

In addition, ISFED Executive Director commented on the issue of anti-United National Movement (UNM) posters and billboards, which read “No to UNM! No to Evil!”, saying this is an example of “series of attacks instead of a real pre-election campaign.”

Anti-UNM banners appeared in Tbilisi on November 17. They depict ex-officials and members of the former ruling party United National Movement: Mikheil Saakashvili, Bacho Akhalaia, Ivane Merabishvili and the United Opposition Presidential candidate Grigol Vashadze.

It is unknown who ordered and placed the posters in the capital.