“The reality is that the Saakashvili government is the fourth one-party state that Georgia has had during the last 20 years going back to the Soviet period,” he said. “And nowhere has this been more apparent than in the restrictions on media freedom.”
Varför har inte svensk media talat om de Georgiska demokratiska bristerna om nu Ryssland ska dömas efter samma kriterier. Som att Freedom House rankar Georgien efter Nigeria,
Malawi, Indonesia and Ukraine och likvärdig med Colombia i pressfrihet?
Eller vad det amerikanska utrikesdepartementet sade om den förvärrade situationen för media, den demokratiska oppostionen eller polisväsendet?
Är det möjligen så att demokratiska värden är selektiva beroende på vilket utrikespolitiskt förhållande man har till USA?
TBILISI, Georgia — The cameras at Georgia’s main opposition broadcaster, Imedi, kept rolling Nov. 7, when masked riot police officers with machine guns burst into the studio. They smashed equipment, ordered employees and television guests to lie on the floor and confiscated their cellphones. A news anchor remained on-screen throughout, describing the mayhem. Then all went black.
In its most recent report, Freedom House, a human rights research group based in New York, ranked press freedom in Georgia on a level with Colombia and behind Nigeria, Malawi, Indonesia and Ukraine — the last a NATO aspirant, like Georgia.
A 2008 State Department report on Georgia’s democratic progress noted that respect for freedom of speech, the press and assembly worsened during the 2007 crisis, and that there continued to be reports of “law enforcement officers acting with impunity” and “government pressure on the judiciary.”
Sozar Subari, Georgia’s ombudsman for human rights, an independent watchdog appointed by the Georgian Parliament, accused the government of stifling press freedom by ensuring that sympathetic managers were installed as directors at national broadcasters.
“That Georgia is on the road to democracy and has a free press is the main myth created by Georgia that the West has believed in,” Mr. Subari said. “We have some of the best freedom-of-expression laws in the world, but in practice, the government is so afraid of criticism that it has felt compelled to raid media offices and to intimidate journalists and bash their equipment.”
Nino Zuriashvili, a Georgian investigative journalist who said she broadcasted on the Internet to bypass censorship, said that under Mr. Saakashvili, nearly a dozen broadcasters had been winnowed down to a handful, and several political talk shows had been shut down. “The paradox is that there was more media freedom before the Rose Revolution,” she said.
Mr. Saakashvili himself, asked about press freedom on a recent visit to New York, conceded at an Atlantic Council luncheon that “we need to have more debate and more transparency.” But he insisted, “There are no taboos.”
Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, a close ally of Mr. Saakashvili, retorted that market forces were driving the consolidation of media. Annual spending on television and newspaper advertising in Georgia was about $50 million, he said, not enough to support a dozen broadcasters. The raid on Imedi was not Georgia’s “finest hour,” he said in an interview, but he insisted that opposition voices were represented across Georgian media.
“All this talk of media censorship is a tired cliché,” he said, noting that opposition candidates in recent presidential and parliamentary elections had equal time on the main television stations, if not more.
Some critics said the culture of censorship was particularly pronounced during the brief war with Russia in August, accusing the government of obfuscating reality in an effort to portray Georgia as both victim and victor.