In a first official statement over the massive leak of alleged State Security Service files, the Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarchate on September 17 lashed out at media over the dissemination of contents of the leaked documents.
Thousands of alleged SSG files were leaked online on September 13. The documents, albeit being largely focused on the Orthodox clergy, described wiretapped online and on-phone conversations of Georgian journalists, civil society, opposition politicians, civil servants and foreign diplomats as well.
The Patriarchate said “considering years-long confrontation against the Church by certain forces,” it is highly likely that files, even those containing some truth, may be fabricated, adding that the authenticity of these wiretappings should be investigated.
It is noteworthy, the Patriarchate said, that “TV stations with negative attitude against the Church disseminate covert, unsanctioned wiretappings, thus contributing to sowing baseless suspicions and distrust in the population [against the Church and], do not shy away from inflicting great pain and insult on human beings.”
“Disseminating these materials in television and internet space, especially with one’s interpretations, is neither ethical, nor legal, irrespective of whether these files are authentic or not.”
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“We all remember severe reaction of the TV stations and representatives of NGOs over covert recordings featuring them, and while they are themselves dissemination these illegal information now, neither Journalistic Ethics Charter, nor Public Defender, NGO sector, international organizations, or [diplomatic] missions of our friendly states are raising voice,” the Patriachate claimed. “Neither are the authorities reacting adequately.”
Recalling that illegal storage, use and dissemination of personal information and publicizing private communication is punishable by law, the Patriarchate said “managers of media outlets should be well aware of the abovementioned, but nevertheless continue disseminating insulting information of obscure origin.”
This represents an attempt to drag the Church into election process, and to incite chaos, the Patriarchate added, also calling for timely investigation that is “first of all, a matter of the national security and dignity.”
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