Speaker Complains to Donor After Outlet Refuses Op-ed

OC Media, an online media outlet, reported on September 12 that Shalva Papuashvili, the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, had penned a letter of complaint to at least one of the donor organizations associated with the media. This action was taken following their refusal to publish the Speaker’s opinion piece.

According to OC Media, in his letter, Papuashvili emphasized that “cooperation between the Georgian Government and the donor ‘rests on a shared understanding of Georgia’s aspirations towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration’.” ‘The fact that you are funding an organization that provides only one-sided coverage of Georgian politics and flatly refuses to even consider a differing opinion for publication, does not correspond to this spirit’, – the letter read. the Speaker also expressed his dismay that the organization supports a media outlet unwilling to publish the perspectives of the ruling party. Reportedly, the donor organization was “surprised” by Papuashvili’s correspondence.

OC Media says that Tiko Mgeladze, a representative from the Speaker’s office, had approached OC Media on June 28, requesting the publication of the article. However, they declined to provide the full opinion piece until the media outlet confirmed its intention to publish. OC Media was compelled to make a decision based solely on the title (“The tactic of virtually separating Georgia’s democratic government from Georgian people fits the Russian hybrid playbook”) and the opening paragraph.

OC Media‘s editor-in-chief, Robin Fabbro, and the editorial board opted to reject Papuashvili’s piece for a number of reasons. Fabbro cited the Georgian government’s “outright hostility to the press” and its unwilingness to cooperate with journalists. Additionally, they expressed concerns that the piece lacked a factual basis, genuineness, and did not align with the media’s core values..

Mariam Nikuradze, co-founder and co-director of OC Media, described the letter as “a clear attack on the organization’s editorial independence, and freedom of the press more generally.” She anticipated further legal challenges from the Speaker’s office, such as an “unannounced” audit or a defamation lawsuit. She also expressed concern about the potential surveillance of her office and staff, which she saw as a tangible risk.

Also Read:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


Back to top button