On July 2, the Georgian State Security Service reported that the Tbilisi City Court has issued a ruling to obtain the entire footage of the TV stories aired by pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV on June 20 and June 25.
As part of its investigation into alleged act of sabotage that SSG commenced on March 16, the domestic intelligence agency since June 25 is probing into the TV story in which medical staff and local authorities were allegedly offering money to residents of ethnic Azeri majority Marneuli Municipality to name COVID-19 as the cause of death of their family members or relatives.
In its previous June 25 statement, the SSG said the opposition-minded TV deliberately mistranslated Azerbaijani-language interviews and misinformed the public, that aimed at inciting protests and hampering smooth functioning of the government institutions and organizations.
Reiterating the claim, the State Security Service said in a starkly worded statement today that “the organizers of this disinformation campaign” intended to “fuel the feeling of insecurity as well as distrust towards the state, [and to] create panic and chaos.”
The domestic intelligence agency added that obtaining the entire TV footage will help them “pursue further absolute, thorough and objective investigation into the case, to take decision on legal response in relation to each particular fact of viable and consolidated evidence.”
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Responding to the statement, Nika Gvaramia, the Director General of Mtavari Arkhi TV accused the State Security Service of discrediting the opposition-minded TV station.
The Georgian Journalistic Ethics Charted also slammed the investigation, noting that the actions by the Security Service and the Tbilisi City Court ruling threaten media freedom in the country.