Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based press freedom watchdog, called for an independent and transparent investigation into the alleged “widespread illegal spying,” and urged the Georgian authorities to stop “this unprecedented surveillance at once.”
“These surveillance records, if their authenticity is confirmed, are extremely disturbing because of their scale, as well as being illegal and unacceptable,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.
“Previous investigations into spying cases went nowhere. In view of the gravity of this matter, we hope for rapid results this time,” she added.
RSF pointed out that at least five journalists have confirmed being among the targets of the supposed surveillance – Nodar Meladze of TV Pirveli, Formula TV reporter Nino Vardzelashvili, Levan Sutidze, editor of Tabula online media outlet, Eka Kvesitadze of Mtavari Arkhi TV, and former editor of On.ge news Gela Bochikashvili.
Thousands of files, allegedly gathered through the Security Service spying, were disseminated to journalists on September 12-13. Albeit largely focused on the Orthodox clergy, the files also detailed conversations of journalists, foreign diplomats, businessmen and activists, among others.
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