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Free Speech, Democracy… Is Being Ignored

The Resonance; The Alia; The Dilis Gazeti

Georgian State Security Ministry agents entered the office of independent TV Company Rustavi 2 without any actual documentation and intended to raid the company. The Security agents visited Rustavi 2 for inspecting company and conducting search, the Resonance says. Events occurred around the company and free speech is the main theme of today’s press, naturally supporting its colleagues.

“Attack” on the company began at about 1.00 p.m. yesterday. The Security agents accused the company of hiding incomes of about one million and 200 thousand GEL from the state budget.

“As it was found later, the Security Ministry had no legal right to pass such operation”, the Resonance says. Tax and Income Ministry was over with financial inspection of Rustavi 2 just a week ago. Management of the company is positive that the Security agents were following political order and financial inspection was just a reason.

The Alia presumes that the Security ministry may have been aiming neither at financial inspection nor realizing the political order. Their intention was to cause public disorder, which actually occurred yesterday. None of other newspapers share the opinion.

“Whatever occurred yesterday around the TV company Rustavi 2 means that ignoring of free speech, democracy, publicity, journalists, and the whole society was started in Georgia. It may be surprising but the occurrences make us judge that the government was the initiator of this whole tragedy. Governmental structures, especially the law enforcers, had acted against Rustavi 2 earlier as well but no one would presume such development of the process”. This is how the Dilis Gazeti evaluates the events occurrences yesterday. 

The paper considers that the State Security Ministry made a wrong step when it was not able to predict that Rustavi 2 would be backed by the population. “Such action of influencing free media made all Tbilisi citizens (and not only Tbilisi) really embarrassed. They considered that it was their honor to defend the company”. By the way, almost the total majority of MPs supported Rustavi 2.

Announcement of Head of the Parliament Zurab Zhvania regarding yesterday’s events was published in the press today. “I assess the fact occurred against TV Company Rustavi 2 as political revenge and political pursuit”, the announcement says. 

The press points out the people gathered for supporting the TV Company expressed their protest not only against the law enforcers but also the President of Georgia. It was the first time during his presidency when Shevardnadze turned away from journalists and refused to answer the question about Rustavi 2.


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