Posts by Mari Nikuradze:

Minorities

Christians begin open air prayer on disputed ruins in Mokhe

by | Dec 23

ADIGENI, DFWatch--A dispute about the ruins of a mosque in the village Mokhe in the south of Georgia has deteriorated further after Christians began conducting prayer on the site. Muslims began holding Friday prayers on the ruins two months ago and did not stop

News

Women in Tbilisi say: We won’t give away the night

by | Nov 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--Women carried dresses and skirts as flags through central Tbilisi on Friday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The march was organized by Movement of Women and began from Pushkin Square in the center toward the police station.

Elections

Voter turnout 20% by noon in uncertain Georgian election

by | Oct 8

TBILISI, DFWatch--All election precincts in Georgia opened at 08:00 in the morning, according to Central Election Commission (CEC), and the election is proceeding peacefully. Voter turnout was 19.81 % by 12:00, according to the CEC. Most government officials

Minorities

After waiting nine years, Radio Marneuli prepares to finally go on air

by | Sep 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Marneuli, a predominantly ethnic Azerbaijani town in the south of Georgia, the community radio is the only media outlet which is critical of the local government and trying to be balanced, unbiased and objective. The people behind Radio Marneuli went through many difficulties until they finally

Minorities, Youth

New cafe offers youth a place to meet in Pankisi

by | Aug 12

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new café in Pankisi Gorge will offer young people a place to gather. Locals say they cannot remember ever having had a place for young people to get together. The café opened Wednesday in the village Duisi, the central village in Pankisi Gorge,

News

‘Tbilisi Ugly Walk’ explores gradual erosion of two parks

by | Jul 25

TBILISI, DFWatch--Architect Irakli Zhvania walked us through the historic devastation of two parks in the capital. The second edition of ‘Tbilisi Ugly Walk’ highlighted how two of the most beautiful green lungs in the city have been reduced by large buildings and roads,

Environment

Tbilisi Ugly Walk – Green activist group against disfeaturing city’s urban image

by | May 30

Tbilisi, DFWatch - About thirty people, Tbilisians as well as number of foreigners, gathered on Sunday to take an unusual tour of the capital – Tbilisi Ugly Walk – which was aimed at exposing the city’s recent architectural history with three different political periods - ‘Shevardnadze Era’ (1993-2003), ‘Saakashvili Era’ (2003-2012) and ‘Ivanishvili Era” (2012 to present).

News

Student activist group resumes rallying in Tbilisi University

by | May 26

  Tbilisi, DFWatch - Auditorium 115, students’ movement at the Tbilisi State University resumed rallying against students’ union tvitmmartveloba demanding its abolishment on Wednesday, a day after one of its members was beaten allegedly by the Union members. Auditorium 115 organized protest in the front of TSU main building and soon moved towards students’ union office in the same building. After a overcoming 20-minutes long resistance by TSU guards, Auditorium members and supporters eventually broke into Union's office and announce its 'abolition'. On Tuesday Auditorium 115 raised ultimatum to the government to disband the students’ union immediately, otherwise threatening with 'permanent' sit-in protests. Auditorium 115 is now waiting for government meeting planned on Friday, which will decide on norms regulating students’ unions activities. Auditorium 115 demands downright abolishment of tvitmmartvelobas in every higher educational institution in the country. The Ministry of Education and Science responded referring to students' ultimatum as 'unacceptable'. “The ministry is ready to continue the working process and invites all the interested parties to meet on May 27 at 10:00, where we would discuss achieved results and plan future steps,” the statement released ...

Minorities

Two more cases of homophobic violence in Tbilisi

by | May 24

TBilisi, DFWatch - Two cases of likely homophobic violence were reported in Tbilisi on Saturday. Koba Bitsadze, the executive director of LGBT organisation Temida,

News

Six detained at rally against Ivanishvili construction projects

by | May 7

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people, including a member of Tbilisi City Council, were detained on Saturday during a rally against construction projects by companies affiliated with former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Around 150 activists gathered near the Botanical

News

Parliament’s Human Rights Committee approves constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

by | May 6

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amidst fierce debates, Georgian Parliament’s Human Rights Committee on Thursday almost unanimously (only one MP abstained, no one voted against) approved the bill of constitutional changes to define marriage as a voluntary union of a man and a woman.

Youth

Revived TSU student protest called off after talks with PM

by | Apr 18

TBILISI, DFWatch--After two days of blocking the journalists’ campus at Tbilisi State University, the Auditorium 115 movement Sunday evening left the building after meeting several hours with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. Students of Tbilisi

News, Society

Feminists protest against abortion ban outside Poland’s embassy in Tbilisi

by | Apr 8

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly 20 people gathered Friday outside the Polish embassy in Tbilisi to show solidarity with Polish women trying to stop a proposed ban on abortion in their country. The gathering was organized by Independent Group of Feminists

News, Society

Down Syndrome Day marked in Tbilisi

by | Mar 21

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia marked International Down syndrome Day on March 21 with a march that started in Vake Park and ended at Tbilisi State University. This year’s main message worldwide and in Georgia was about friendship and socialization of people with Down’s syndrome.

Youth

Tbilisi State University initiates impeachment procedures

by | Mar 18

TBILISI, DFWatch--The academic council at Tbilisi State University (TSU) has started impeachment procedures against the rector after a meeting with members of the student’s union (Tvitmmartveloba). Classes were resumed Friday at TSU after more than a week of conflict

Youth

Classes resume at TSU, but conflict still simmers

by | Mar 18

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a week-long student sit-in, teaching has resumed at the main building of Tbilisi State University (TSU), while the opposing groups continue to fight for their demands. Friday, Professor Gogi Gogsadze at the Social and Political Studies Faculty

Youth

Students leave Tbilisi State University after nearly a week’s sit-in

by | Mar 17

TBILISI, DFWatch--The protests at Tbilisi State University are over. Auditorium No 115 and members of student government (Tvitmmartveloba) have left the main building after occupying it for about a week. Police, security guards and journalists also left the building. The student

Youth

Opposing sides clash in corridors of TSU as student protest continues

by | Mar 15

TBILISI, DFWatch--After several clashes during the day, the tension at Tbilisi State University continued on Monday, between the student government, called tvitmmartveloba, and another group of students calling themselves Auditorium 115. Even though

Society

Report from the miners’ strike in Tkibuli

by | Feb 27

TKIBULI, DFWatch--More than two weeks have passed since coal miners in Tkibuli in western Georgia began standing watch day and night in front of the company’s office, demanding higher salaries. So far, without results. Their demand is to increase their salaries

Minorities

Two mosques given heritage protection in southern Georgia

by | Feb 12

ADIGENI, DFWatch--Two mosques in the south of Georgia were Monday granted cultural heritage status. We went to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region to see how religious minorities are living there. One of the mosques designated as cultural heritage lies in the middle of the village Adigeni.

Interviews, News

Boris Iarochevitch: Georgia’s on track

by | Aug 24

"I think that Georgia is almost there when it comes to fulfilling the visa liberalization action plan. Now it is up to the member states of the EU to decide. I think that people in Georgia deserve visa-free regime. I see no reason now to delay it further,'' says Boris Iarochevitch, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union since 2011, said.

Sport

Thousands waited for UEFA Super Cup tickets

by | Jul 12

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several thousand people showed up in Vake Park near Meskhi stadium on Saturday to buy tickets for the UEFA Super Cup match between Sevilla and Barcelona in Tbilisi on August 11. The Georgian Football Federation (GFF)

News

Tbilisi flood: Stories from a disaster zone

by | Jun 15

TBILISI, DFWatch--While walking along the path through River Vere valley after the flood, a man approaches and asks to look in a certain direction, where there is just a rock and a river and nothing else. The empty space over the river was once his house. He says he borrowed some boots from his neighbor and is wearing the same T-shirt he wore yesterday, before the disaster started. He and his family managed to escape their home just as it collapsed and watched it dissolve in the water. Now they don’t own a single thing, apart from a T-shirt and the pants he is wearing. Later, on the same street, Gulnara calls us over to show us what happened at her place. Her house consisted of two buildings. In one of them there was a kitchen and a bathroom, which entirely disappeared. Another one with bedroom and living room was flooded and almost destroyed. “I have health problems, had double surgery on my leg, barely walking. I hardly managed to save anything in my house,” she tells us. It is 9:00 in the ...

News

Georgia celebrated a people’s Independence Day

by | May 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia marks Independence Day on May 26 in most of the cities and towns all over the country by organizing different events. There is no military parade, but many military elements are visible in the capital. At 13:00, 200 recruits swore an oath

Youth

Youth activists mark International Workers’ Day in Tbilisi

by | May 1

       

Minorities

The Armenians in Tsalka

by | Apr 14

TSALKA, DFWatch--Tsalka is a cluster of villages in the south of Georgia. It is home to ethnic Armenians, Greeks, Azerbaijani and Georgians; most of whom are eco-migrants from the Adjara region. Levon Akopian, an employee of the local government

Minorities

How community leaders view a child marriage in Pankisi, Georgia

by | Mar 17

PANKISI, DFWatch--About a month ago, a 13 year old girl was married to a 23 year old man in Pankisi Gorge with approval from the girl’s parents. This has caused concern in the Council of Women and the Council of Elders, two mediation bodies which play an important

Interviews

Chemtai Yegon – a Kenyan woman living and teaching in Georgia

by | Jan 10

When Chemtai Yegon, a young woman from Kenya, came to Georgia a few years ago to teach English and study Georgian, she faced a lot of challenges, like her first real winter with frost and snow, 'no one speaking English', and some encounters with aggressive

Society

Campaign launched in Georgia against domestic violence

by | Nov 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were demonstrations in 22 cities and towns all over Georgia on Tuesday to highlight the problem of violence against women. 24 women have been killed this year in Georgia, and there are many reports of family conflicts, when women

Minorities

Pankisi’s Council of Elders and what they do

by | Nov 25

DUISI, DFWatch--Despite its reputation, Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge is now a quite peaceful place, according to the Council of Elders, an informal body which arbitrates conflicts in the area. The council has a long history here. Its role is to mediate and decide

Minorities, News

Religious summer camp brings children together across confessions

by | Aug 28

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ten-day summer camp was organized in mid-August for about one hundred Georgian Muslim and Christian children. The camp is aimed at making friends, train and educate, as well as breaking down prejudices about religion. Giorgi Jaiani, 15, came

News, Youth

KaZantip festival in Georgia a failure, may be cancelled

by | Aug 27

TBILISI, DFWatch--The long-awaited music festival KaZantip turned out a disappointment for some visitors and the head organizer. The electronic music festival, which has been held for the last decade in Crimea, was moved to Georgia’s Black Sea coast after Russia’s

Minorities

Mosque issue in Batumi remains unresolved

by | Aug 19

TBILISI, DFWatch--Years have passed without a solution to the need for a new mosque in Batumi. The governments keep promising Muslims that they will make a decision, but according to Muslims, both the central and the local government are attempting to delay

Society

One man dies in accident at Zestaponi metal plant

by | Jun 9

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 50-year old man died last Tuesday night at the ferroalloy plant in Zestaponi as he was hit by a high voltage electric shock. Mamuka Nebieridze died on the spot in the June 3 accident. An investigation has been launched in order to determine whether

Society

Waiting to get away from Metalurg Sanatorium

by | May 23

TBILISI, DFWatch--For more than 20 years, Eter, 74, has been living in Metalurg Sanatorium in Tskaltubo, a town in western Georgia. Apart from her, there are 60 families there; all refugees from the breakaway region Abkhazia. After Eter’s husband passed away, she

Society

Tserovani – the village of refugees from 2008 war

by | May 21

TSEROVANI, DFWatch-- Tserovani is a settlement of refugees from the breakaway region South Ossetia. People settled here in small cottages after the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008. More than 2,000 cottages were built in Tserovani after the war, housing many

Minorities, News

Erisimedi – a village on the Georgia-Azerbaijan border

by | May 6

TBILISI, DFWatch--Erisimedi is a small village right on the Georgia-Azerbaijan border with a population of not more than a few hundred. It belongs to the Georgian municipality Sighnagi, but lacks a clear demarcation of the border with Azerbaijan, which has caused

Minorities, News

Muslims in Batumi hoping for permission to build new mosque

by | Apr 28

TBILISI, DFWatch--For more than a decade, Muslims in Batumi have failed to get permission to build a second mosque in the city. The one they have is not big enough to meet demand. Every Friday, several thousands of Muslims come to Orta Jame Mosque in Batumi,

Minorities, News

One murdered, prayer house burnt in Muslim village

by | Apr 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a Muslim village near Tbilisi, a man was recently stabbed to death, and three days later a prayer house was put on fire. Is there a connection? DF Watch went there to investigate. The village is called Mughanlo and lies about 30 minutes’ drive east

News, Youth

The economy isn’t everything, say Georgia’s green activists

by | Apr 23

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new movement has sprung up in Georgia in response to the government forcing through a gigantic hydro power project against strong popular resistance. The movement is called Green Fist and began as a group of twenty youth who travelled

Minorities, News, Youth

Why do so few girls finish school in Duzagrama?

by | Apr 13

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pariz Alakhverdiani, 17, is in 12th grade at the public school in Duzagrama, a small village in southeast Georgia populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis. Alakhverdiani wants to study at the Medical University in Tbilisi and has decided to become a dentist.

Minorities, News

Armenians and Doukhobors in Gorelovka, Georgia

by | Mar 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--Gorelovka is a small village in Samtskhe-Javakheti, a region to the south of Georgia populated by ethnic Armenians, Russian Doukhobors and Georgians who have been resettled from Adigeni and Khulo because of landslides. The village is small and,

Society

One dies in manganese plant in Chiatura, Georgia

by | Mar 23

TBILISI, DFWatch--A mine worker died Thursday in a metal ore processing plant in Chiatura, a town in western Georgia. Another worker was injured and brought to the hospital. The plant was being dismantled by workers in the Darkveti mine on orders of the mine's owner,

Society

Hundreds from a Georgian mining village demonstrated in Tbilisi

by | Mar 8

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several hundreds people from the village Kazreti in southern Georgia demonstrated in front of the government office in Tbilisi on Friday. They demand that the government mediates between the workers and the company that owns the mines in their

Society

Why is a whole village in Georgia on strike?

by | Mar 1

TBILISI, DFWatch--For about two weeks, the entire Kazreti village has been on strike. People have joined the strike among workers in the gold mines. Eight people are on hunger strike. The workers want increased salaries, improved working conditions and insurance, and

Society

Mine workers on strike in Chiatura describe unfair conditions

by | Feb 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--The mine workers in Chiatura have once more gone on strike. For five days, several hundred have not showed up at work, while others say they are ready to join the strike. After the change of government in 2012, the miners in Chiatura went on strike

Minorities, News

Glimpses of daily life in Iormughanlo, Georgia

by | Feb 25

Iormughanlo is a village at the river Iori and lies in the Kakheti region in the south eastern part of Georgia. The village has a population of not more than 2 000, according to the most recent census data, predominantly ethic Azeris. The majority of families in Iormughanlo have sheep as a livelihood. While walking in the streets of the village, drops of blood are visible from recently killed animals, especially on Fridays, the market day. On Friday morning, a large market is organized some way out of the village limits, on the right side of the highway. People mostly sell fruits and vegetables, meat and other products, but you can also buy clothes and household items. This man is a market guard. Even when everybody has left and the market is over, he is always at his wagon protecting the area from being robbed. He is expecting a print of a picture we took of him, to display at his wagon someday. Shortly after afternoon, the market is completely empty. Dogs are walking around looking for food. This homeless man says he always ...

Environment, News

1000 people demonstrated to save Vake Park in Tbilisi

by | Jan 20

TBILISI, DFWatch--Around a thousand people showed up in Vake Park in Tbilisi Sunday to protest against the construction of a new hotel. The event, which was planned on Facebook, brought together people, families, some with dogs or carrying balloons, enjoying snacks

News

Mining company wants to dig gold in 5400 year old mine

by | Jan 19

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists in Georgia are trying to prevent a five thousand year old gold mine from being opened up for commercial exploitation. It started in spring 2013, when archaeologists became aware that the mining company RMG was about to start excavating gold

News

Four detained at protests about artificial fertilization

by | Jan 8

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four persons were detained on Wednesday after several incidents during two counter-rallies held at the main office of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Patriarchate. Participants at one rally came to protest against an epistle by the Georgian Patriarch

Minorities, News

Chechen refugees trying to find their place in Georgian society

by | Jan 5

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the last 14 years, Kariata Tsimirbulatova has lived with her husband and four children in Duisi, a village in a valley in the northeastern part of Georgia near the border to Chechnya called Pankisi Gorge. The members of her family have recently

Society

Georgian Church against homeless shelter run by LGBT group

by | Nov 14

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Church, the Patriarchate, is against the opening of a shelter for homeless people. The plan has been proposed by the organization Identoba, which protects the rights of LGBT people in Georgia. A private individual donated a building

Minorities, News

Minaret conflict in Chela, Georgia, still unresolved

by | Nov 12

TBILISI, DFWatch--The conflict over a minaret that was dismantled in a small Georgian village is far from over. Locals are continuing their fight to have the minaret restored, and claim that the guarantee of freedom of religion in the Georgian Constitution supports

Minorities, News

Uncertainty about plans for new mosque in Batumi

by | Oct 24

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the center of Batumi stands the large Ortajame Mosque. It was built in the 1860s, and Muslims gather here for Friday prayers. The problem is, there isn't enough room for everybody inside, so many people are having to conduct their prayers outside.

News

Several rallies in Georgia to protest against Russian occupation

by | Oct 14

TBILISI, DFWatch--A number of protest rallies and events were held in Georgia last weekend to protest against Russian occupation and Georgia's participation in the Sochi Winter Olympics. On Saturday, there was a rally outside the government offices in Tbilisi, where

Environment, News

Storm leaves thick sediment, danger of landslides

by | Sep 6

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite heavy rains and wind in the west of Georgia the last two days, no serious damage was done to villages and towns. But there is still a danger of landslides. Strong wind and rain caused problems in several regions of Georgia for the last two

News, Youth

Third day of Batumi Summer Set canceled due to bad weather

by | Aug 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--The third day of Batumi Summer Set electronic music festival had to be canceled due to bad weather as water flooded the festival area and destroyed equipment. The festival in Georgia's largest Black Sea beach resort started on August 22 with Danish

News

Last two defendents in ‘tractors case’ out on bail

by | Aug 9

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court Thursday released on bail the last two persons who had been detained in the so-called tractor case. All in all, seven are accused on charges spanning negligence, state money embezzlement and pressure on experts.

Environment, News

Limestone formation partly destroyed along Kazbegi road

by | Aug 7

TBILISI, DFWatch--A large part of a massive limestone formation in Georgia has been destroyed during repair work on a tunnel. The rock formation is located at a section of road between Gudauri and Kobi, leading up into the Kazbegi mountains in the north of Georgia,

Economy, News

Farmer cut down peach field in protest against falling prices

by | Aug 5

TBILISI, DFWatch--A peach farmer in Georgia has cut down his plantation because the government hasn't helped him and his colleagues deal with a slump in the market price. When Gia Shaoshvili , a resident of the village Chumlaki in the eastern Kakheti region, carried

Environment, News

People in Senaki are trying to cope with the flood

by | Jul 31

TBILISI, DFWatch--In almost every house in Senaki’s main streets, people are using spades to get rid of mud and water after heavy flooding on Monday. Senaki is a small town in Samegrelo, in the western part of Georgia, with more than 25 000 residents. Elderly people

Society

Eco-refugees living in a town called Dream

by | Jul 24

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 800 single-room barracks are constructed at the former base of the 53rd regiment in Batumi, a beach resort on the Black Sea and one of Georgia’s most popular tourist destinations. The barracks were constructed by families of eco-migrants

Society

Georgia’s privatized health care system is failing

by | Jul 22

TBILISI, DFWatch--Medical personnel at the only hospital in Kharagauli haven’t received salary for the last four months, while the company which owns the management rights to the hospital is not fulfilling its obligations under the contract to rehabilitate the

Society

16 years on, refugees still living in temporary housing

by | Jul 21

TBILISI, DFWatch--Twelve families of refugees are living in the kitchen building of a former hospital in Zugdidi, a town that lies not far from Abkhazia, the breakaway region they fled from. For 16 years, they have been living in the derelict building, waiting to be

Society

Peach vendors in Georgia: Where are our processing plants?

by | Jul 19

TBILISI, DFWatch--The sale of peaches is so slow in Georgia that sellers haven't been able to cover their costs this year. They ask for more processing plants to be built. Nikoloz Gharibashvili, 62, owns peach fields and his income usually comes from selling peaches.

Society

Refugees from Abkhazia are in a difficult situation

by | Jul 15

TBILISI, DFWatch--Valentina Sajaia, 90, has been living in the Likani settlement for the last 20 years with about 120 other families, who were forced to leave their houses in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. She has raised four children without her husband

Society

Five thousand came to Oasis Music Festival

by | Jun 25

TBILISI, DFWatch--Oasis Music Festival was held this weekend in Mtskheta, not far from the capital, with well-known bands like WhoMadeWho, Mumiy Troll and Motorama. The festival lasted two days and was held at Theatron, an area between the old castle and the River

NGO news

New report exposes faults in Georgia polling

by | Jun 20

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report about the political polls in 2012 warns of a dangerous trend if last year’s polls continue this year ahead of the presidential election in October. The report Making Public Polling Matter found that the results of last year’s polls

Society

Tbilisi preparing for Open Air Festival today

by | Jun 5

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Open Air Festival is getting closer as most of the bands have arrived in Tbilisi. This year’s big surprise, Deep Purple, arrived in Tbilisi on Tuesday. Right before their departure, Altervision Group, which organizes the festival, made

Society

Decriminalize marijuana rally in Tbilisi

by | Jun 3

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than a thousand people gathered in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Sunday to demand the decriminalization of marijuana. Under current legislation it is illegal to use or sell marijuana and other soft drugs. Organizers of the rally

News

Georgia marked Independence Day in 26 cities and towns

by | May 27

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sunday May 26, Georgia marked its Independence Day in 26 cities and towns all over the country. The celebration included folklore ensembles and choir concerts, military and police equipment exhibitions, theatrical performances and other events.

Media, News

Georgia preparing switch to digital by 2015

by | May 25

TBILISI, DFWatch--A conference on digital media was held in Tbilisi May 23-24 to discuss the transition to digital TV, good and bad examples from other countries and positive and negative sides of the process. Media experts from Estonia, Lithuania, UK, Moldova, Russia,

News

Lawmakers discussed how to destroy ‘dirty archive’

by | May 20

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Internal Affairs plans to partially destroy illegally recorded secret surveillance material in one week. Deputy Interior Minister Levan Izoria said on Monday that this process will be conducted with the participation of society.

News

Georgian Church mobilized thousands against LGBT event

by | May 17

TBILISI, DFWatch--Thousands of parishioners and clerics from the Georgian Orthodox Church May 17 prevented LGBT rights activists from carrying through a peaceful rally against homophobia in downtown Tbilisi. According to the health minister, the day ended with 28

Society

Tense ahead of gay rights rally in Tbilisi today

by | May 17

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rallies are planned in Tbilisi today to prevent a gathering of activists who want to mark the International Day Against Homophobia. The two organizations Identoba and Women’s Initiative Support Group announced about a month ago that they were

Society

Georgians discuss introducing a ban on abortions

by | May 10

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Patriarch’s Easter epistle has caused a debate about abortion in Georgia. Ilia II in his recent sermon called on the government to introduce a prohibition on abortion, but the government does not yet plan any changes in this field. The

Society

May Day rally turned violent in Tbilisi

by | May 1

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Wednesday dispersed a peaceful protest organized by students and youth groups that wanted to mark the International Workers' Day, May 1. About twenty persons, including a journalist, were detained by police and later released.

News

Fear of surveillance must be eliminated, says Ivanishvili

by | Apr 30

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new government is not conducting illegal surveillance of citizens, but the fear people have of being tracked should be eliminated, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivansihvili said on Monday. Georgia’s National Platform of the Eastern Partnership, which

Society

Armenians demonstrated outside Turkey’s embassy in Georgia

by | Apr 25

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Armenian community in Georgia on Wednesday held a rally outside the Turkish embassy in Tbilisi. Their demand was that Turkey must recognize the Armenian genocide in 1915 and commemorate the victims. Representatives of Armenian organizations

News

Saakashvili fired up crowd for anti-Russia themed rally

by | Apr 20

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians in the United States rallied in New York Friday, in protest against the foreign policy of the Ivanishvili government, which has ruled Georgia for six months. The rally was the continuation of a mass gathering in the capital of their

Interviews

NDI’s Luis Navarro about the latest survey

by | Apr 18

DFWatch: What was the methodology of your latest survey? Were there any changes compared to the previous surveys that you’ve done in the past year? Luis Navarro: The methodology that we use is consistent. We use random route sampling; we use a Kish table

Society

Agriculture University will get back its accreditation

by | Mar 16

TBILISI, DFWatch--The students at the Agriculture University continued their protest Friday, and handed Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili documents which were meant to show that the institution now complies with the law's requirements. After studying the

Society

Student protest at Agriculture University

by | Mar 13

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the last two days, students at an agricultural college have been at the center of a dispute between the governing Georgian Dream coalition and supporters of President Mikheil Saakashvili. The dispute began with the

News

Justice minister lacks law degree, some claim

by | Mar 3

TBILISI, DFWatch--A debate is brewing in Georgia about the credentials of the new justice minister, as Thea Tsulukiani's opponents claim that she doesn't have a law degree. Her supporters in the governing Georgian Dream coalition claim she has a diploma, but received

Elections '12-'13, News

Local government reform to involve people more

by | Feb 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--The goal of a new reform of local government is to involve locals in solving their own problems, like bad roads and failing water supply. The Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure on Monday laid out its new decentralization plan and

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party rallies to support Tbilisi mayor

by | Feb 24

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava was charged with money laundering and embezzlement of the city's money, but not detained. Politicians from the United National Movement party of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday hastily left parliament Kutaisi

News

Ex minister detained after fatal gun accident

by | Feb 22

TBILISI, DFWatch--The former minister of sport and youth affairs, a close ally of president Saakashvili, has been detained by Tbilisi police, along with two of his friends, after the accidental killing of another friend who was also a former ministry employee.

Elections '12-'13, News, NGO news

Ivanishvili government’s first 100 days

by | Feb 19

TBILISI, DFWatch--Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia met for a conference on Monday to sum up the three months after the parliamentary election of Georgia. Representatives of NGOs working in the human rights field described the government's first 100

News

Three detained after Friday’s violence

by | Feb 9

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police today detained a person who Friday hit Chiora Taktakishvili, member of parliament for the National Movement, causing bleeding and injuries to her nose. According to the interior minister police this morning detained Giorgi Mamaladze, who is

News

Armenian Diocese gets involved in Georgian amnesty debate

by | Jan 29

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Armenian Diocese in Georgia accuses President Mikheil Saakashvili of making provocative statements regarding an ethnic Armenian prisoner, and calls on him to avoid such language. In 2008, Georgian police detained Vahagn Chakhaliani, a Georgian

News

Holocaust Day marked in Georgia

by | Jan 28

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday, as the Ombudsman’s Office organized a meeting at Library of Parliament in Tbilisi. There were invited representatives of different religious confessions, foreign diplomats,

Society

Online shopping is catching on in Georgia

by | Jan 27

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There is a small crowd gathered in the hall giving electronic signatures together with ID cards to get the parcel. 'Parcel from America', the tagline of the company says. There are several companies in Tbilisi like this one that offer to ship items

News

Georgia releases prisoners against the president’s veto

by | Jan 13

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The speaker of the Georgian parliament Saturday signed into law a bill which will release 3 000 prisoners and halve the sentence for 17 000 others in a mass amnesty. The bill is one of the most tangible results of the unexpected outcome of the

News

Georgian ISAF soldier buried today

by | Jan 5

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Sergeant Giorgi Kikadze, the nineteenth Georgian soldier to lose his life in Afghanistan, was buried today in Rustavi. This was the second public funeral organized for a Georgian soldier dying while taking part in ISAF operations. His body was

Media, News

Georgian Public Broadcaster gets new director

by | Dec 27

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The supervisory board of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster Wednesday elected a new director as replacement for Giorgi Chanturia, who unexpectedly resigned almost two weeks ago. The board chose Giorgi Baratashvili, who has a background from different

News

Ivanishivili’s coalition is winning the trust of Georgians

by | Dec 17

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The political party section of NDI’s first survey after the parliamentary election shows a U-turn compared to the situation a couple of months ago: Politicians in the coalition which recently came into government score high on trust

Society

Friday prayers interrupted in Georgian village

by | Dec 15

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A religious conflict has broken out in a village in Georgia after orthodox Christians started interrupting Muslims in their Friday prayer. The conflict started a few weeks ago. Tariel Nakaidze, leader of the Georgian Muslims, wrote on his Facebook

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili’s election promises considered unrealistic

by | Dec 13

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new government's proposed budget is in some regards unrealistic, according to a new report. Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) presented the report Analysis and Recommendations on 2013 year Draft Budget of Georgia on Tuesday.

NGO news

Kutaisi parliament cost USD 196 million

by | Dec 11

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A new study has revealed the true cost of Georgia's new parliament: USD 196 million. Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) on Monday presented a report about the cost of building a new parliament building in Kutaisi, the second

Society

Second hand clothes are in fashion in Tbilisi

by | Dec 11

TBILISI, DFWatch - There are stores in between the large markets near the central train station in Tbilisi were people sell second hand clothes from abroad. There, people are crowding close to piles of clothes, peeking inside to find what they want. Rusa, 21, says

Economy, News

LSE wants to educate Georgian business leaders

by | Nov 29

TBILISI, DFWatch -- What does it take to get a company listed on London Stock Exchange (LSE)? That was one of the questions addressed at a conference in Tbilisi Tuesday, and who better to hear it from than the LSE itself, which organized the event. The goal of the

Media, News

Georgian PM proposes controversial TV plan

by | Nov 26

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili claims he is ready to give his TV channel to Georgian Public Broadcaster or transform it into a public broadcaster. He will even finance it for next 20 years with no strings attached. TV 9 was set up about ten

Society

Trade unions advise new Georgian government

by | Nov 25

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian Dream coalition had on its agenda to change many things after coming to power, including improve conditions in the work place by amending the Georgian labor code, which was amended in 2006 and has been criticized since both locally and

Society

Rose revolutionaries organize SOS movement

by | Nov 24

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A recently established movement called SOS on Thursday gathered to celebrate the 9 year anniversary of the Rose Revolution. About 30 people showed up at Square of Roses, which is named after the Rose Revolution. The SOS movement was set up a week

NGO news

Unscheduled audit of Georgia’s public broadcaster

by | Nov 19

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Revenue Service November 6 started an unscheduled audit of the financial activity of the Public Broadcaster. Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri November 7 stated that Georgia’s Public Broadcaster has about USD 2.2 million in debt to the

Economy, News

Russia considers lifting embargo on Georgian wine

by | Nov 16

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Moscow is ready to consider allowing Georgian wine back onto the Russian market. Andrei Denisov, First Deputy Foreign Minister, said on Wednesday that there is a willingness on both sides to study the issue. "If we talk about specific cases, it is

News

Ivanishvili met Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels

by | Nov 14

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Wednesday morning, the Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili met NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels. After the meeting, they held a joint press conference. Fogh Rasmussen said they had a positive and constructive

News

Court hearing for ex-minister and 2 officers

by | Nov 9

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former interior minister and two military officers are appearing in court Friday for a preliminary detention hearing. Tbilisi City Court is hearing the case of Bacho Akhalia, former interior minister, Giorgi Kalandadze,

Economy, News

Ivanishvili practically shuts down Georgia’s Security Council

by | Nov 6

TBILISI, DFWatch -- One of the controversial cuts Prime Minister Ivanishvili wants to make in next year's budget is to reduce funding for Georgia's National Security Council – which had a central role in protecting the country in the 2008 war – from USD 15 million

Society

Behind the battle lines of a miners’ strike

by | Nov 4

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The miners in Georgia are not giving up as they enter their fourth week of protest in the village Chiatura. More than 3600 workers demand a substantial pay rise and improvement in their slave-like working conditions. They started protesting

News

Chiatura miners on strike descend on Tbilisi

by | Nov 2

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Workers in the mining town Chiatura are keeping up a several weeks' long protest. Part of them have moved to the capital to rally outside government bodies and the owning company's offices. The parliamentary election gave hope to workers all over

News

More than 700 prisoners to be released by late November

by | Oct 31

Tbilisi, DF Watch - Georgia’s new prison minister says the law about amnesty may come into force before November 23, and may apply to more than 700 prisoners, but he avoided specifying exactly how many prisoners may be released. Sozar Subari, Georgia’s

Economy, News

Government considers planned new city Lazika

by | Oct 28

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new government has still not decided whether to implement Saakashvili’s idea of building a completely new city Lazika in Georgia. The new government have different ideas about the plan to build a city with half a million people on the Black

News

New Georgian government approved

by | Oct 25

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's eighth parliament has declared trust in the new government by 88 votes against 54. There are 150 seats in the parliament. Georgian Dream is in majority with 85 seats, the rest og seats belong to the National Movement, the former ruling

News

New ombudsman may be chosen today

by | Oct 25

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Thursday parliament will approve the new government presented by the Georgian Dream coalition. Parliament might also approve the new public defender, whose candidacy has been subject to discussion since the election result first became known.

Society

‘Food, not bombs’ event held in Tbilisi

by | Oct 19

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A group of volunteer youth in Tbilisi decided to organize a charity event in the city internationally known as Food Not Bombs. Food which cannot be sold is gathered from grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries and markets, and is handed out to people

News

Saakashvili offers Ivanishvili Georgian citizenship

by | Oct 16

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili today offered Georgian citizenship to the future prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. October 2011, the former businessman wrote in an open letter that he was planning to go into politics and change the government through

News, Politics

EU ambassador optimistic about Georgia’s future

by | Oct 15

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The EU ambassador to Georgia thinks the ongoing process of transfer of power is another test for Georgia, which will be successfully passed. Georgia's National Platform, the largest union of local non-government organizations (NGOs) with support from

News, Politics

New government’s goal: multiparty democracy

by | Oct 15

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new governing coalition will have as goal to establish a real multiparty system in Georgia, Georgian Dream candidate for Parliament Speaker promises. Davit Usupashvili says it should not be surprising that in the new parliament their coalition might be

Society

Tbilisoba: what treats an old city can offer

by | Oct 8

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s capital last weekend was the scene of elaborate display of handicraft, winemaking, food and fun, as the annual celebration Tbilisoba as usual drew large crowds to engage in various aspects of Georgian traditional ways of life. Tbilisoba

News

New government takes shape

by | Oct 8

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili Monday presented his candidates for government ministers and other important positions, after his coalition won the parliamentary election one week ago. The candidates will need approval by parliament. Candidate

News, Prisoner abuse

Protested against violence

by | Oct 8

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Groups on Sunday protested against the attack on a well-known Georgian writer who was beaten after participating in a TV debate about the publishing of the names of prison employees by a newspaper. About 50 people gathered outside a police station

Society

Marking World Animal Day

by | Oct 4

TBILISI, DFWatch -- While the country is rocked by political tension, rallies and protests, up to twenty students and others today gathered at Tbilisi Concert Hall to mark World Animal Day. They told DFWatch that they view it as a day for the protection of animal rights

News, Prisoner abuse

Anger after newspaper names prison guards

by | Oct 4

TBILISI, DFWatch -- One of Georgia's most popular newspapers on Wednesday revealed the identity of guards working in a controversial prison where serious abuse was revealed two weeks ago. The list shows the names, address and date of birth of prison guards and employees working at

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Violations continued during election day

by | Oct 1

TBILISI, DFWatch – Another series of violations are regularly reported through local non-government organizations, media outlets and social networks from all over the country in Monday's parliamentary elections. The movement Multinational Georgia reports about twenty

News

Your “democracy” hurts, Mr President

by | Sep 27

TBILISI, DFWatch - «Your Democracy Hurts” -- this is one of the messages students have been sending to the government through their demonstrations all over the capital for the last week. The demonstrations against torture in the prisons continue. About eleven

News

Protests not abating in Georgia over prisoner abuse

by | Sep 25

TBILISI, DFWatch – The wave of rallies and demonstrations against torture in the prison system shows no signs of abating in Georgia, as on Monday thousands of youth took to the streets to demonstrate. The organizers were several youth organizations, and people

News

Waiting outside, supporting those inside

by | Sep 23

TBILISI, DFWatch - “I bet daddy can see me here,” a boy of about 12 told her grandmother, both standing on a small hill in front of Prison No 8. It was evening and beginning to get dark. His grandmother was counting cell windows, as she knew the cell number where

News, Prisoner abuse

Looking for loved ones in the prison of shame

by | Sep 22

TBILISI, DFWatch - Galina Nemsitsveridze waited outside the entrance hall of Gldani prison on Friday, like hundreds of other people trying to see their sons and husbands. Galina's son was suspected of sexually abusing his future wife together with two persons and put

News, Prisoner abuse

The broomstick revolution is coming

by | Sep 21

TBILISI, DFWatch – Anger is not abating in Georgia, after the second minister leaves because of revelations of prisoner abuse. The largest crowd of demonstrators seen so far in this crisis swept through the central thoroughfare of Tbilisi Thursday evening,

News, Prisoner abuse

Prisoner abuse in Georgia – Saakashvili’s ticking time bomb

by | Sep 19

TBILISI, DFWatch – For the last 24 hours, the whole of Georgia has been concerned about five videos released by different sources that show physical and sexual abuse of prisoners. People spontaneously took to the streets to show their disgust, and protests are still

Society

Rising ticket prices on Tbilisi’s public transport

by | Sep 18

TBILISI, DFWatch - Salome (22) is a reporter for a Tbilisi-based online newspaper. Due to her job, she needs to visit different places in the capital at least five times a day. Her managers do not cover transportation fees for her, as the office is run on a tight budget

News

Melia sums up democracy talks in Georgia

by | Sep 13

TBILISI, DFWatch - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia, who on Wednesday completed his visit to Georgia, evaluated the situation in the country before the elections. A delegation chaired by him for two days held meetings with representatives of

News

Georgia lost 0-1 to Spain

by | Sep 12

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia on Tuesday lost a football match against Spain 0-1. The Jvarosnebi team managed to keep the score at 0-0 until the very last minutes of the match. Roberto Soldado of Spain brought his team one point in teh 86. minute. The Georgian team

Economy, News

Ivanishvili sells off his last asset in Russia

by | Sep 11

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's richest says he has sold his last assets in Russia. A US fund purchases Stolenskaya Niva for USD 180 million. Russian media informs that Unikor Company, which manages Bidzina Ivanishvili's assets, has finished the sale of Russian assets.

News

NDI surveyed public attitudes in Georgia

by | Sep 8

TBILISI, DFWatch - 63 percent of Georgians approve of the appointment of the former interior minister as prime minister; 47 percent think the upcoming election will be more or less well-conducted, while 62 percent will not support the opposition if it decides to begin

Interviews

NDI’s Luis Navarro on the latest poll

by | Sep 8

What are the main differences which occurred for the last survey compared to the last two surveys conducted by NDI?Most notable change since our last poll is that people's attitudes about Georgian democracy improved. So what we have seen over time is that people's

News

Saakashvili widens gap to main competitor: NDI poll

by | Sep 7

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new survey gives the ruling National Movement party a comfortable lead ahead of the parliamentary election on October 1. The survey shows in August, 37 percent of Georgians would vote for the National Movement, while only 12 percent

Elections, News

Groups demand to change election date for emigrants

by | Sep 6

TBILISI, DFWatch – Democracy groups demand that the date of the parliamentary is brought forward for Georgians living abroad. The election is scheduled for October 1, but the groups it brought forward to September 29 or 30. The groups say in an application to the Central Election

Elections, News

Democracy groups in Georgia go on the offensive

by | Aug 30

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian National Platform, a coalition of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), has released a statement regarding the period leading up to the parliamentary election. The National Platform was set up in October 2010 with a goal to support

News

Georgia releases footage of dead Islamist militants

by | Aug 30

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia Interior Ministry released a footage of operation of Georgian special forces against Islamist militants from Russia’s volatile Dagestan republic of North Caucasus, when two Georgian officers and one army doctor died, along with 11

News

Georgia says border shooting not reason for Russian action

by | Aug 29

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia says a serious border incident which led to fourteen deaths can not be a reason for Russia to intervene. Despite witness accounts from the Georgian side, Russia's secret police, the FSB, which also controls the borders, does not confirm that armed groups

News

Two law enforcers, one military doctor and 11 boeviks killed, Georgian officials report

by | Aug 29

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two members of Georgian Interior Affairs Ministry special unit and one military doctor has died, while eleven saboteurs were killed and 6 are currently surrounded, MIA reported recently. According to Georgian officials all hostages released in the

Elections, News

Audit agency fines pro-government campaign group

by | Aug 28

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's State Audit Service wants to fine a non-governmental organization (NGO) which supports the government by 5 000 lari, or about USD 3 000. The State Audit Service, which has authority to track the financial relations of political parties and

Economy, News

Cartu Bank fined USD 12 million

by | Aug 22

TBILISI, DFWatch – A Georgian bank affiliated with the largest opposition bloc has been fined with USD 11 609 500 by the National Enforcement Bureau. The reason Cartu Bank, which is facing a series of problems after businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili decided to enter

News

Busy season for Georgia’s mountain rescue workers

by | Aug 18

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian rescue workers have conducted three separated operations to save foreign climbers stuck in the Georgian mountains. One Russian climber slipped when he was going out of his tent. He fell down from the cliff and died. The other two in his

Society

The Dry Bridge in Tbilisi – a market of memories

by | Aug 12

TBILISI, DFWatch – For many years, Goga has been selling various old things in downtown Tbilisi. He mostly sells to tourists, but also to local collectors. He can't even remember when he started, but really enjoys it, as most of his stuff is handmade by himself.

Media, News

Journalist stalkers in Georgia continue unhindered

by | Aug 10

TBILISI, DFWatch – For more than a month, journalists with an opposition-leaning news service in Georgia have been followed around by a group of unknown people while trying to do their work. The stalkers carry cameras and microphones, but do not appear to have an

Media, News

Georgia’s small broadcasters protest strict campaign rules

by | Aug 10

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's National Communications Commission (GNCC) claims that broadcasters will be forced to air free political commercials, even if they don't air paid commercials. Regional broadcasters say it is an incorrect interpretation of the law, which will

Media, News

Georgians get more TV channels, temporarily

by | Aug 7

TBILISI, DFWatch – The must-carry and must-offer principle is starting to have effect also around Georgia’s different regions. People living in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city after the capital, report that they are already able to watch Channel 9, Maestro and Kavkazia

News

Groups call for improved consumer protection

by | Aug 7

TBILISI, DFWatch – Groups in Georgia are concerned that a number of legislative changes will worsen the situation in regards to food safety and consumer rights. Seven non-governmental organizations working on these issues and two independent experts today

Media, News

A historic first: A Georgian newspaper fined for libel

by | Aug 6

TBILISI, DFWatch – The popular newspaper Alia, which has been published in Georgia since 1995, has been fined about USD 30 000 for libel against a well-known actor. The newspaper printed an article which accused actor Otar Koberidze, a favorite of President Mikheil

News

Ivanishvili gathers 20 000 supporters in Batumi

by | Aug 6

TBILISI, DFWatch – The opposition Georgian Dream coalition Sunday continued showing off its support with a massive rally in Batumi, a port on the Black Sea coast. About 20 000 people gathered in front of the stage. ‘Let Saakashvili see how many of us are here’,

Economy, News

Temporary regulations affects Georgian banking sector

by | Aug 6

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new report shows that legislative changes ushered in by the Georgian government to counter the influence of an opposition billionaire has hampered the bank sector. The report shows that new legislation about banks, tax and the executive made

News

Doubts about media diversity law in Georgia

by | Aug 1

TBILISI, DFWatch - Media organizations, cable operator companies, non-government organizations and the National Communication Commission (GNCC ) sat down together on Monday to discuss details and issues about the implementation of the must-carry and

News

Ivanishvili given back control over shares in Cartu and Progress

by | Jul 27

TBILISI, DFWatch - A bank director in Georgia who authorities removed from his job will get his old job back. This follows from a decision to revoke the seizure of all 100 percent shares in Cartu Group and 22 percent of Progress Bank, effective Thursday

News

‘Dish protest’ in front of parliament

by | Jul 25

TBILISI, DFWatch - Media workers and others demonstrated in front of the old parliament in Tbilisi Wednesday in support of Maestro TV. They demanded the immediate return of equipment seized from the company. The crowd held real and symbolic satellite

News

More equipment seized from Maestro TV

by | Jul 24

TBILISI, DFWatch - More of Maestro's satellite equipment was seized yesterday by police on the Georgian border, the company's director informs. Ilia Kikabidze, General Director of Maestro TV, today said at a press conference that three cars were seized yesterday,

News

Media campaign in support of Maestro TV

by | Jul 23

TBILISI, DFWatch - Media in Georgia have launched a campaign in support of TV company Maestro, which had thousands of satellite dishes seized by authorities. Ilia Kikabidze, general director of Maestro TV, Lasha Tughushi, editor in chief of newspaper

Society

How tourists see Georgia and what they expect

by | Jul 23

TBILISI, DFWatch - Luis from Ecuador has been traveling for seven years around the world. This time he stops in Georgia for a while. He hadn't heard much about this country, but stopped by here on his way to somewhere else. Then he decided to stay for several weeks.

News

Media workers gather in support of Maestro TV

by | Jul 21

TBILISI, DFWatch - 20 media outlets in Georgia gathered today at Tbilisi Marriott Hotel to discuss the recent seizure of satellite dishes belonging to Maestro TV. The media workers consider the prosecutor office's action illegal and appeal to both the government

News

How storm wrecked havoc in eastern Georgia

by | Jul 21

GURJAANI, DFWatch - There are no windows left in the Salimov family house. Their bread bakery has collapsed together with the pantry. Everything that is wet has been taken outside in the sun to dry, while a giant walnut tree has fallen down and wrecked havoc

News

Tbilisi death jumpers used car safety belt, likely cause

by | Jul 19

TBILISI, DFWatch – The inquest into the death of a 23 year old woman and a 25 year old man after a rope jump from a bridge in Tbilisi is not yet finished, but there are indications that what caused the tragedy was the use of a provisional mechanism involving

News

Livestock killed by storm in eastern Georgia

by | Jul 19

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia was hit by a storm Thursday that killed livestock and injured eighteen people and caused flooding in the capital. Local media in the eastern region of Kakheti report that heavy rain was followed by a hail storm, causing difficulties

News

Two die in rope jumping accident in Tbilisi

by | Jul 16

TBILISI, DFWatch – A 23-year old woman and a 25-year old man died in a rope jumping accident in Tbilisi on Sunday. The two jumped together from a bridge. The woman, Mariam Kandashvili, died on the spot, while the man, Goga Goletiani, was taken to hospital,

News

Media freedom used as weapon in Georgian politics

by | Jul 14

TBILISI, DFWatch - Do you know the deductive method? Who was Jack London? What is Watergate? These are some of the important questions an unknown woman recently asked a reporter for info9, again and again, apparently in order to keep him from doing

News

Maestro journalists defend TV station’s integrity

by | Jul 14

TBILISI, DFWatch - Journalists with Maestro demonstrated in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi Friday. Their demand was that authorities return satellite receivers seized from the TV company a few days ago, so journalists be let to continue their

News

Cartu Group and Progress Bank seized by authorities

by | Jul 12

TBILISI, DFWatch - The National Enforcement Bureau has asked Tbilisi City Court to transfer the shares of Cartu Group and Progress Bank to a compulsory management regime. The Enforcement Bureau seized all 100 percent shared that Georgian Dream coalition leader Bidzina

News

Second TV station targetted in satellite dish clamp-down

by | Jul 11

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Government is to seize satellite receivers belonging to the small, independent TV station Maestro under a controversial new party finance regulation. The Prosecetor's Office suspects that Maestro is distributing satellite receivers to voters

News

One more prisoner dies in Tbilisi, rumours abound

by | Jul 10

TBILISI, DFWatch – There is still no confirmation of an alleged raid of a prison in Tbilisi Friday night. In the meantime, one more prisoner has been confirmed dead. The Prison Ministry confirmed a second death at Geguti prison. Again, the cause of death was heart

News

Georgian athletes clash, this time in politics

by | Jul 9

TBILISI, DFWatch – A Georgian Olympic judo champion says a sports hall named after him in Eastern Georgia was renamed and his photos taken down from the walls after he decided to support the opposition Georgian Dream coalition; however the governor of the

News

Church appeals for mercy as another prisoner dies in Georgia

by | Jul 8

TBILISI, DFWatch – Shortly after rumours of a raid inside the largest prison in the country, Georgia's Prison Ministry reports of yet another prisoner death. The Patriarch calls on prison directors to treat inmates with more respect. The Ministry of Corrections

News

Unconfirmed reports about prison raid in Tbilisi

by | Jul 7

TBILISI, DFWatch - Friday evening there was a rush of postings on Facebook and Internet forums saying that a special unit had raided the prison in Gldani, in northern Tbilisi, beaten the prisoners, resulting on two deaths. It started Friday evening when two Facebook

News

Georgian parliament confirms controversial new PM

by | Jul 4

TBILISI, DFWatch – Parliament voted 102 against 7 today to declare trust in the new government and its action plan presented by a former Interior Minister. From now on, Georgia’s prime minister will be Vano Merabishvili. The former defense minister will take over

Economy, News

Merabishvili presents USD 12 billion action plan

by | Jul 3

TBILISI, DFWatch – The government plans to spend four billion lari to develop agriculture, six billion on pensions, three billion on health insurance, three billion on social assistance and four billion on education. Changes have been made in the government, with

News

Ivanishvili gathers supporters in Georgia’s old capital Mtskheta

by | Jul 2

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian opposition figure head Bidzina Ivanishvili continued his tour of the country's regions Sunday by staging a rally in the old capital Mtskheta, 20 km north of Tbilisi. The rally started at 19:00 and saw the billionaire making new

News

Saakashvili’s government has lacked long term plans

by | Jul 1

TBILISI, DFWatch – In the years from 2004 to 2011, the Georgian Parliament had ten votes of confidence for the government and approved ten government programs, although the programs changed each year and almost never followed the steps of the previous one. This

Economy, News

Agriculture and tourism failing: new report

by | Jun 30

TBILISI, DFWatch - A new report shows that President Saakashvili turned his back on Georgian farmers in order to develop tourism, but the strategy failed. Six out of ten employed persons in Georgia are self-employed. More than 50 percent are employed in agriculture,

News

Ivanishvili takes his citizenship case to the UN

by | Jun 29

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian opposition billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has complained to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. Georgian Dream spokesperson Tina Khidasheli says they are bringing his citizenship case to the Committee because the government

News

Prisoner abuse papered over in Georgia

by | Jun 27

TBILISI, DFWatch – The ombudsman in Georgia Tuesday asked the chief prosecutor to investigate suspected cases of prisoner mistreatment at Ksani prison. The plea came after some of the ombudsman's inspectors met hundreds of prisoners in that prison on June 22

News

Georgian war film causing controversy at home

by | Jun 25

TBILISI, DFWatch – A movie about the Russo-Georgian war in 2008 is causing controversy among film critics and on social media in Georgia. The film "5 Days of War" premiered last summer with much fanfare. The film tells a personal story against the backdrop of the war

News

Channel 9 defiant after police seize 300 000 sat dishes

by | Jun 22

TBILISI, DFWatch - Police Thursday night seized 300 000 satellite dishes in several locations around the country. This will prevent a government-critical TV channel from reaching viewers. The sat dishes were meant to let people watch Channel 9, which does not have a

News

Internally displaced amass on minister’s office

by | Jun 20

TBILISI, DFWatch - Refugees in Georgia once more demonstrated for ther rights Tuesday in front of the Refugee Ministry building. About fifty people had gathered to ask for a meeting with the minister. After ten minutes of arguing at the entrance, the refugees were

News

Georgia’s ruling party answers U.S. Ambassador

by | Jun 19

TBILISI, DFWatch – The ruling party in Georgia defends its policy of not interfering in the television sector to provide pluralism before the parliamentary election. Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Bass last week criticized the lack of plurality in Georgian

Society

Hard luck if you are a Roma in Tbilisi

by | Jun 14

TBILISI, DFWatch – Walking the streets of Tbilisi, at several spots you will see groups of children dressed in worn-out, brightly colored clothes, with dirty hands and faces, asking you for money. These beggars come from the city's Roma community. The children you

News

Legitimacy of Georgian election may be questioned

by | Jun 13

TBILISI, DFWatch - A democracy campaign in Georgia says recent developments may put in doubt the legitimacy of the whole election if the Saakashvili regime does not take immediate measures. The campaigners are particularly alarmed by the recent

News

Ivanishvili’s Channel 9 struggling with distribution

by | Jun 12

TBILISI, DFWatch – The owner of TV and radio distributor Stereo+ says it has lost all its clients after signing a contract with Ivanishvili affiliated Channel 9 a month ago. Davit Zilpimiani, who started and owns Stereo+, says this and another company he runs have

News

Ivanishvili drew big crowd at second campaign rally

by | Jun 11

KUTAISI, DFWatch – The main opposition bloc in Georgia Sunday mobilized supporters again, this time in the second largest city Kutaisi. The goal of Georgian Dream's rally was to gather supporters from different villages and cities in the region Imereti. Supporters

News

Claims that Georgian opposition bribed voters

by | Jun 8

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new strongly pro-government organization says the main opposition bloc in Georgia may be disqualified in the upcoming parliament elections, because of what it says is bribery of voters. The organization, called Clean Politics, which was set up two

News

Leaders come and go, Clinton tells Saakashvili

by | Jun 6

TBILISI, DFWatch – Leaders may come to power and leave power, but institutions should be strengthened, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday. Appearing next to President Mikheil Saakashvili in Batumi after having had consultations with him and the

News

Another suspected political firing in Georgia

by | Jun 5

TBILISI, DFWatch – Another case of a possibly politically motivated dismissal has come to light. This time it's an employee of United Water Supply Company of Georgia. Lasha Shvangiradze has been employed in the company since 2006. He works in Khoni, in the region

News

Democracy campaign on the streets again

by | Jun 4

TBILISI, DFWatch – A democracy campaign in Georgia is keeping up the pressure on the government to change the law to counteract pro-government bias in TV media ahead of the election in October. The campaign This Affects You Too started in February as a reaction to

News

Georgian footballer implicated in match fixing scandal

by | Jun 1

TBILISI, DFWatch – An investigation has been launched in Italy regarding 33 rigged football games, and Georgia's most famous football player is implicated in the case. Kakhi Kaladze, a former professional who played Genoa during 2010-2011, denies being involved.

News

Crisis continues in Georgia’s education sector

by | May 30

TBILISI, DFWatch – After dismissing the head of the national examinations center, Georgia's education minister has hired the head of the country's police academy to fill her position. The firing of Maya Miminoshvili has stirred emotions in Tbilisi, as many see her

News

Georgia’s education sector in crisis after ‘political’ firing

by | May 29

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia's whole educations sector has been thrown into crisis, as right before the national tests over a third of the staff at the National Examinations Center have left their jobs in protest against the dismissal of their boss, which they believe

News

Massive opposition demonstration in Tbilisi

by | May 27

The opposition movement Georgian Dream mobilized tens of thousands of supporters in Tbilisi Sunday. Crowds marched from three different locations in order to converge on Freedom Square. There, a stage had been assembled, from which the movement’s leader,

News

Georgia’s Independence Day moves to Kutaisi, sort of

by | May 27

TBILISI, DFWatch – For the first time in Georgia's history, the main celebration on Independence Day took place not in Tbilisi, the formal capital, but in Kutaisi, where a new parliament building was opened with a symbolic first session of lawmakers and a military

News

Georgia marks independence day with new parliament

by | May 26

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia celebrates Independence Day today on May 26. The day is a celebration of restoration of independence from the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. May 26 1918, the first Georgia republic was established. The country became independent

News

Journalists rallied outside justice ministry in Tbilisi

by | May 26

TBILISI, DFWatch - Groups organized rally in front of Justice Ministry on Friday to protest against a number of incidents of violation of journalist rights, and verbal and physical abuse. They demand to launch an objective investigation of each incident. For the

News

Campaign accuses Saakashvili regime of gas price fixing

by | May 25

TBILISI, DFWatch – In Georgia, rising fuel prices has spurred a new movement that is questioning the cozy connection between the Saakashvili regime and the fuel companies. As people are feeling the impact of high gas prices, the new movement says the reason is price

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