Welcome back! The Daily Dispatch is our editorial take on the past day’s news. You can subscribe here to get it in your mailbox . Click to write to us! We’d love to hear your ideas and opinions. Giorgi Tskhakaia has been browsing the news for you.
PANDEMIC ARMTWISTING Things are most certainly coming to a bad end when press freedom is weighed against the potential threats to national security. The Tbilisi Court has ruled that the Security Service can request uncut footage Mtavari Arkhi TV, a scathing critic of the Georgian Dream government. Country’s chief intelligence outfit alleges that the TV has deliberately misconstrued the local residents’ statements to sow “panic and chaos”, which amounts to an act of sabotage. The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, journos’ self-regulation body, sounded the alarm saying the investigative bodies shall have no say over the contents of the reports, which are only subject to review by self-regulation body. They say such interference is an attempt at intimidating independent media.
CHEERS! Sort of…The Parliament gave its final stamp of approval to the reform bundle that is set to adjust the election law in line with the recently passed constitutional changes (news of the adoption even reached State Sec Pompeo’s ears, who broke into cheers) and the international observers’ recommendations. The U.S. Embassy to Georgia, which played an integral role in drafting the reform, welcomed the proposed legislation, which it said added new safeguards against crooked practices of campaigning and encouraged increased female participation. Still, there is room for improvement, stressed the Embassy – in terms of transparency and shielding against voter intimidation.
STANDING GROUND Once again, the Georgian opposition stood common ground, requesting the Government to set free Giorgi Rurua, Mtavari Arkhi TV shareholder, whose release – it claims – was one of the provisos of the landmark March 8 Agreement. In a statement, motley political outfits patted themselves on the back for unity that let them put eat the ruling party a humble pie – passing the reforms they first rejected. Similar unity will deliver the release of Mr. Rurua, the parties believe…
…DESPITE THE GERMAN CHILL At least German political establishment seems to believe this stance is vainly stubborn. MEP Viola von Cramon told a zoom conference by GIP, a think-tank, that while a compromise on election law was to be welcomed, opposition’s decision not to vote was regrettable, a “missed opportunity.” MEP did point out, that in her latest communications she tried to impress upon the Georgian government, that the level of democracy is measured by the maneuvering space that the government gives to the opposition. Apparently, MEP Cramon shares the views of German Ambassador Knirsh that the government’s gesture of compromise was not adequately and fairly reciprocated. The opposition must take note.
FIZZ AIR Hard facts are tough to nail down in Georgia – especially before elections. So when the news broke, that WizzAir – a carrier of choice for budget travelers – was closing its base in a western Georgian city of Kutaisi, partisan trenches swelled. The opposition said the government’s decision to keep the borders closed – despite EU white-listing Georgia – was to blame. The government first flatly denied anything was being closed, then [kind of] admitted flights will be kept but the company will, indeed, stop basing its aircraft in Kutaisi (leaving service personnel jobless?). WizzAir’s representative stepped in, saying the base was being mothballed, not closed, and maybe reopened once the crisis is over. This is neither here nor there. Pot-shots continue to fly accross the partisan trenches.
That’s full lid for today!