TBILISI, DFWatch – An opposition lawmaker has accused a Georgian politics channel of having been pressured by the government to stop the filming of a political meeting.
A lawmaker claims that the work of the public “C-SPAN” like channel in Georgia was interrupted by government intervention.
Dimitri Lortkipanidze of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice said a camera crew from the Second Channel arrived to film a meeting he had with victims of Soviet repression, but stopped filming after only two or three minutes and left the place.
Now Lortkipanidze is demanding an explanation from the chairman of Second Channel, Dodo Shonava.
Second Channel is one of the two nationwide channels left over from Soviet times. In 2009, it was reorganized in the wake of the protests that summer, and now works on the basis of a memorandum with parliament meant to give more voice to alternative political groups.
According to news agency Pirveli, the MP says that the cameramen yesterday explained that the reason they interrupted the filming was that the victims of repression themselves requested it, a reason Lortkipanidze considers absurd.
He thinks the real reason is that the government didn’t want the problems they discussed at the meeting to be made public, and believes the recording was interrupted by order of the government.
The main topic at the meeting was compensation for victims of repression during the Soviet Union. During the meeting people affected by repression complained about the amounts that are paid in compensation, one calling it ‘shameful and humiliating’.
Second Channel’s 2009 platform obliges it to broadcast every event taking place in parliament, including the activities of factions, but also sends its teams out into Tbilisi streets to report from outdoors press conferences, and has an open microphone slot where alternative groups may freely use their air time.
The major part of its broadcasting schedule, however, consists of entertainment programming, mostly films and series.