A group of local civil society organizations expressed solidarity with Palitra Holding and all media outlets that are “under open and undisguised attack by the Georgian Dream and its satellite parties, organizations and propaganda media outlets.”
The CSO statement came after reports surfaced online a few days ago that Palitra Media was financed by Davit Kezerashvili, former defense minister and founder of Formula TV. On March 28, Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the Georgian Dream party, said that Palitra Media’s editorial policy had turned it into “Formula 2, Kezerashvili’s second television.” Palitra Media also reacted to “false” and “slanderous” information yesterday, calling on everyone “to refrain from spreading, circulating and commenting on unverified and absurd information.”
In a statement released on March 29, the CSOs stressed that the campaign launched against Palitra Holding “once again clearly indicates that the ruling party is not interested in the European integration of Georgia or the fulfillment of the 12 recommendations defined by the European Union.”
The organizations noted that after the forced repeal of the “Russian” law, Georgian Dream has launched a campaign “to discredit independent media outlets and civil society organizations, as well as any group that is not directly dependent on Georgian Dream.”
“Instead of depolarization, the government is trying to deepen polarization, which poses a direct threat to Georgia’s European future,” the statement reads, adding that this campaign “is sacrificing Georgia’s long-term foreign policy and national interests.”
The CSOs call on the ruling party to “show responsibility before the citizens and the future of Georgia and cease the targeted and coordinated attacks on independent media, civil society and strategic allies and partners of Georgia, take concrete steps towards depolarization, fulfill the 12 recommendations of the European Union and secure Georgia’s European future.”
Among others, the statement is signed by Transparency International Georgia, Open Society Foundation, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information and Human Rights Center.
Media Advocacy Coalition statement
In a separate statement, the Media Advocacy Coalition also condemned the government’s “discreditation campaign” against “Palitra Media” and called on the ruling team to “stop the targeted discrediting campaign against “Palitra Media” or any other media, to fulfill the obligations under the country’s constitution, to ensure the protection of media rights and a healthy working environment for journalists.
Note: The material was updated on 29 March 2023 at 19:20 with the announcement of the Media Advocacy Coalition.
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