Monthly Archives: December 2011

//December

New party of billionaire in February

By | December 31st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili plans on setting up a new political party in the beginning of February, DF Watch was told by the Irakli Alasania, leader of the Free Democrats, one of four parties are affiliated with Ivanishvili. Since the businessman lost his Georgian citizenship he is prevented from being involved in politics, [...]

Prisoners pardoned

By | December 31st, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The President pardoned 114 convicts today, according to the Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance. 75 prisoners, four of whom are women, will leave jail, while 13 prisoners had their sentence halved and 26 had their suspended sentence lifted. The commission to review early release reviewed cases it had received from local councils [...]

Patriot’s guide

By | December 31st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

First of all, I welcome member of parliament Mr. Gia Tortladze’s pathos to research Russian capital’s influence on the Georgian reality and accordingly on the policy. As you know, this topic is not unknown to me and I’ve been trying for years (unfortunately, in vain) to focus the government’s attention in this direction. Accordingly, I have [...]

Where did the newsstands go?

By | December 30th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Representatives of the media, press distributors and other supporters gathered Friday in front of the Holiday Inn at the center of Tbilisi to once again protest against the situation created around the newspapers and press distributing kiosks. ‘We light, Saakashvili darkens’ – this was the message written on fliers that rally participants were [...]

“Retroactive law” was a misunderstanding

By | December 30th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government says that the political partners of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili won’t have to return the money received from his companies for the last two months. Pavle Kublashvili (pictured), chairman of the Parliament Judiciary Issues Committee claimed this December 29 at the special briefing in parliament. The issue came to the public’s attention [...]

It’s magic! Legal somersault in Tbilisi

By | December 30th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Lawmakers in the Georgian capital seem to have changed a law after it was signed by the president and entered into the formal record. The law raised a chorus of objections from activists who said it violated the constitution and international conventions. Now it appears that the offending paragraph of the law has [...]

Why, Mr President?

By | December 30th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Democracy activists and rights groups descended on president Saakashvili's palace in Tbilisi's Avlabari district Thursday to protest against his signing of a bill into law. Frustration and disbelief has been the dominating reaction among political circles after this became known, and in a spontaneous show of emotion, activists took to the streets outside [...]

Georgia’s richest could become stateless

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, listed by Forbes as the world’s 185th richest, could become stateless, after today renouncing his French citizenship too. A little over two months ago the financier turned politician held triple French-Russian-Georgian citizenship, but after getting entangled in politics he has had to hand in two of them to [...]

New details about who owns Georgian TV stations

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian TV stations have released information about who owns them. It has long been a general impression, but hard to prove, that Georgian TV stations are controlled by the government. The information substantiates these suspicions and shows to what extent persons around the country’s president have a stake in the broadcasting media. This [...]

Prisoner torture ignored, claims MP

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Giorgi Tsagareishvili, chairman of the faction Unity for Justice and the member of the Free Democrats accuses the government of prisoner torture and demands that the Chief Prosecutor’s office investigates the torturing of a 22 year old prisoner. He told reporters at a press conference that the director and a security officer at [...]

US embassy’s statement

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

The US Embassy has released a statement regarding the changes to the Georgian Electoral Code and the legislation regarding campaign financing. DF Watch publishes it unchanged: “The United States supports free, fair and reliable elections in Georgia. Our attention is focused on the electoral process. We do not support any specific party or candidate. In this [...]

President signed controversial campaign finance law

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian president has signed the law about political associations of citizens, which imposes restrictions on campaign financing. The amendment includes restrospective powers, which are prohibited by international conventions and the Georgian constitution. This means that the law has come into force and political parties which have received financing which until now was [...]

Fighting in Afghanistan for Georgia’s Security

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News, Opinion, Security|Tags: , |

Georgia has increased its military presence in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan making it the biggest non-NATO contributor to ISAF operations. The Georgian parliament supported this decision and the Christian Democratic Movement of Georgia voted in favor. This was a well thought-out decision designed for making Georgia a part of a global security network. [...]

The Flanks That Should Be Well Defended

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News, Opinion, Security|Tags: |

Pressure for democratic transformation and modernization challenges Georgia from three main “flanks”: Internal stability – that was not a matter for real concern for President Saakashvili until the public unrest in 2007; imperatives of the European and Euro-Atlantic Integration; a proper Ambition and the promises of the ruling party to the public. Difficult to say, which [...]

Welcome Back to the USSR!

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Yesterday Parliament of Georgia passed a law which in fact outlaws political activity. Furthermore, to a degree it even outlaws political thinking. The law amends the Organic Law on Political Associations of Citizens, the statute which once controlled political parties as such. Hereinafter it is going to control non-political, non-for-profit or business organizations too and, strangely [...]

New law illegal, say rights groups

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Several authoritative non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia consider the retrospective powers of a new law amendment unconstitutional and are asking the president to veto it. The amendment imposes sanctions on political parties that have received money via private companies during the last few months, which was and still is legal until January 1. [...]

Opposition must return tycoon’s gifts

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The political partners of the Georgian tycoon turned opposition leader will have to return the money they received from him. Otherwise, they must give it to the state. This is the consequence of a new bill approved by parliament on Wednesday at the third and last hearing. The final version of the bill [...]

The right to health care and Georgia’s penitentiary system

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Corrections, Probation and Legal Assistance declared the reform of the penitentiary health care as one of the priority directions and carried our measures in this area, health care in prisons still remains the Achilles’ heel of Georgia’s penitentiary system. The situation is made difficult by the disproportionate distribution of [...]

Gov’t postpones media monitoring debate

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The ruling party in Georgia has postponed until spring to decide how to monitor the media before next election in ten months time. If things stay the same, the national TV networks will have the same opportunities as last time. During the local elections in 2010, media monitoring was conducted with the support [...]

Access to media crucial in 2012 election

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: Elections, Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - As a bundle of election related bills are up for final review in parliament, it became clear Tuesday that the ruling party is against a proposal prepared by media workers about how to conduct monitoring of media fairness during the election campaign. The proposal concerns changes to the Election Code and the law [...]

NGOs warn: unfair election system

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tuesday Georgia's new election system should have been passed in parliament, but the package of bills was stopped in the last minute by a group of rights activists, who warned of potential problems. The groups are sounding the alarm that the new election system does not create a level playing field. Several experts [...]

Court hands president partial rebuke

By | December 27th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court has declared partially invalid a decree issued by President Mikheil Saakashvili on October 11 regarding a businessman and his wife’s citizenship. The court said the president had acted illegally when he issued the decree which revoked the citizenships of the couple, but only in dealing with the businessman’s wife, Ekaterine [...]

Did the police action on May 26 comply with international standards?

By | December 27th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The government’s response to police violence on May 26, 2011, was clearly insufficient and inadequate and encourages a syndrome of impunity, writes Tamta Mikeladze, lawyer with Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. The assembly held outside parliament on May 25-26 was peaceful in general, which, according to applicable international standards, imposed an obligation on the state to resort [...]

Ivanishvili appeals court ruling

By | December 27th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A businessman has decided to appeal a court decision given today which upholds president Mikheil Saakashvili's decision to rob him of his Georgian citizenship. Bidzina Ivanishvili declared October 7 that he would use his significant wealth and influence to remove Saakashvili from power. Four days later the president revoked his citizenship, thereby blocking [...]

Citizenship decision today

By | December 27th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Will a city court in Georgia dare to go against the country’s president? By Tuesday afternoon this should be known, as Tbilisi City Court prepares to announce its ruling in a citizenship case. President Mikheil Saakashvili October 11 revoked a businessman’s citizenship, four days after the latter had declared he would mobilize his [...]

Journalists compensated for May 26 violence

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Three of the journalists who were beaten and shot by police on May 26, 2011, will be fully compensated for health expenses and partly have their lost equipment compensated. Tbilisi City Court announced the decision Monday. In addition four media companies will be compensated. Batumelebi Ltd will be fully compensated for lost and [...]

Ivanishvili renounces Russian citizenship

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili has renounced his Russian citizenship. This comes while there is only one day left until a court ruling about his Georgian citizenship. Ivanishvili held triple Georgian-Russian-French citizenship until recently, but is now only a French citizen. His Georgian citizenship was revoked by president Mikheil Saakashvili shortly [...]

Turkey plans to divert water from Tbilisi river

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The river which runs through Tbilisi might have its waters levels lowered, because a Turkish power company wants to tap its energy higher up. The Mtkvari, Georgia’s largest river, may be substantially weakened. This could cause problems not only for Georgians, but also in neighboring Azerbaijan, where it feeds the main drinking water [...]

Decision in journalist beatings case

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court will today announce its decision about compensation for the journalists who were beaten and shot by police on May 26. Journalist Beka Sivsivadze (photo) was hit by almost 40 rubber bullets, but is not part of the claim. Three journalists and four media units October 4 went to court to [...]

Warns of destruction of historic square

By | December 25th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A large crowd gathered Saturday on Gudiashvili square in Tbilisi to protest against City Hall’s plans to modernize it. The rally participants demand that City Hall organizes a public meeting about the plans to reassure people that the square is not in danger. They claim the project has not been agreed with society. [...]

Who’s worse? The foreign hand in Georgian politics

By | December 25th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian opposition parliamentarian who asked authorities to map out how opposition parties receive their funding, has presented a list showing that the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili is also being financed from abroad, including from Russia. The outspoken MP Giorgi Tsagareishvili’s request to the country’s chief prosecutor was originally meant to [...]

Georgia’s new national security concept

By | December 24th, 2011|Categories: News, Security|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Givi Targamadze, chairman of Parliament's Defense and Security Committee, states that the government should use the national security concept as a daily action document. He made this statement on December 23 in parliament as the National Security Concept was approved. This is the second security concept in the history of the country. The [...]

Theatres to reject opposition financing

By | December 24th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - From next year, Georgian theatres will refuse to accept help from billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, culture minister Nika Rurua said on December 23. Artists are saying the government forced theatre directors to make this decision. The directors have not commented. Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has been supporting the development of Georgian culture for years. The [...]

A catalogue of brutality

By | December 24th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - In spite of early reports of three dead, five people actually died when police raided and dispersed a peaceful anti-government protest in Tbilisi on May 26, 2011. The horrors visited upon those who were there is the topic of a lengthy report published Friday by the Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA). GYLA's report [...]

Want strengthened protection of media

By | December 23rd, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Editor of newspaper Rezonansi Eliso Chapidze (pictured) and a group of media workers Friday submitted a bill to parliament, asking for strengthened protection of journalists ahead of next year's parliamentary eleciton. The authors of the bill asks to create the conditions so journalists can work in accordance with international standards. One of their [...]

Media monitoring lacks opposition’s trust

By | December 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Ten months before Georgia is to hold parliamentary elections, there is still distrust towards how the national TV networks will do their job. The government announced Thursday that it wants to change the way media monitoring is done. Chariman of parliament's legal affairs committee Pavle Kublashvili says there is a discussion to shift [...]

Last chance to adjust election system

By | December 23rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Today several laws are up for revision which will change Georgia's election system and set the ground rules for the parliamentary election in October 2012. This will be the second hearing of the changes in the constitution, the electoral code and the law on political associations. Included in the bill are new rules [...]

Claims president had conflict of interest

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili had a conflict of interest when revoking a businessman’s citizenship, lawyers argued in Tbilisi City Court Thursday. The case concerns Bidzina Ivanishvili, a popular financier, who October 7 declared that he wanted to run in next year’s parliamentary election. Four days later, Saakashvili personally signed a decree which means [...]

Georgia to allow conscientious objection

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Citizens of Georgia will be allowed to apply for an alternative service to the military, based on religious, ethical and other grounds. The change comes after a ruling by the Constitutional Court, which decided in favor of the country’s Public Defender, who had sued the parliament for being in breach of the constitution. [...]

Battling poverty through pearly whites

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, is embarking on a bold new plan to repair the teeth of all the elderly in his country. “Let’s fill, insert and polish the teeth on all, so that they will be in a good mood and can smile all the time,” Saakashvili said as he announced his [...]

Martens supports Georgia’s ruling party

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Belgian veteran politician Wilfried Martens says he supports the party of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, the National Movement. Wilfried said this Wednesday on a news show on one of the Georgian national networks. During their conversation, President Saakashvili said his movement is not dependent on persons, and that he will keep on as [...]

Businessman has a backup plan

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The businessman who is trying to claim power in Georgia has a plan for what to do in case he doesn't get back his citizenship. One of his lawyers, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, said this Wednesday. He was answering a questions from a representative of the Estonian embassy, who wanted to know what Mr Ivanishvili [...]

Citizenship case continues today

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court 10 am today continued hearing the case of businessman Bidzina ivanishvili and his wife Ekaterina Khvedelidze. The couple are asking the court to declare invalid a decree by president Mikheil Saakashvili which revoked their citizenship. This made it illegal for Mr Ivanishvili to run in next year's parliamentary election. Polls [...]

Human rights groups targeted in Georgian power game

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government in Georgia is planning to make it illegal for human rights groups to let their criticism of the situation be used in party politics. If they violate the rule, their funding will be restricted. Businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili is doing well in the polls ahead of Georgia’s election next year, but is [...]

Georgian newspapers are being strangled

By | December 21st, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - One of the chain of newspapers outlets in Tbilisi tell of a more than 80% drop in sales. The reason is that city hall has physically torn down most of their kiosks. The press association warns that that this could kill free press in the country. This was the gloomy forecast laid out at [...]

Provincial socialism and provincial liberalism

By | December 21st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

A conference of the Georgian national platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum took place in Tbilisi, in the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, on November 24, 2011. Its main objectives were to discuss and endorse the articles of the platform and the code of conduct of member organisations, and elect governing bodies. The discussion turned into [...]

6.2% growth in 2011

By | December 21st, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia will have 6.2% growth in the economy in 2011. But the prices will have increased 10.5%. In the third quarter of 2011, Georgia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.5% compared to last year's third quarter, and amounted to 6 203 million lari by current prices, which is nearly 38 billion US [...]

Investment climate used to justify weak worker security

By | December 21st, 2011|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian workers have almost no job security due to a weak labor code. This is a conscious policy choice by the government, justified by the need to attrack investors. The main problem Georgian workers face is that an employer can fire an employee at any time without explanation. That’s one of the findings [...]

Media picketed president’s palace

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian media workers Monday continued the campaign to raise awareness of the pressure they are coming under on several fronts. Employees of an evicted TV station joined newspaper staff to picket the president’s residence in Avlabari in the center of Tbilisi. Many people wore a red tie symbolizing that the media doesn’t have [...]

Controversial bill scrapped

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia will not increase the number of members of parliament. Raising the number of MPs was one of several controversial proposed changes to the election system as the country heads into an election year. Pavle Kublashvili, chairman of parliament’s judiciary committee told journalists that the plan has been scrapped after a meeting with [...]

Authorities’ urgency scrutinized in citizenship case

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The authorities in Georgia moved with lightening speed and acted on assumptions when revoking a businessman’s citizenship right after he had announced a new opposition movement. A court in Tbilisi today continued to hear the case of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, a newcomer to politics who scores roughly as high as the ruling party [...]

Parlament orders inquest into businessman’s finances

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An opposition lawmaker aligned with Bidzina Ivanishvili calls for the government to go through the financial activities of the billionaire in order to clear up accusations leveled against him. The request came Tuesday from Giorgi Tsagareishvili, member of the Free Democrats and chairman of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice. He was responding [...]

Georgian Labyrinth of Freedom of Information

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Two weeks ago I decided to express in writing my humble personal opinion on the practice of freedom of information in Georgia. I did not actually have to think a lot, and why should have I anyways? As this year only I’ve witnessed so many problems and strange things about freedom of information that I concluded [...]

Uphold the law!

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The evicted Georgian TV journalists are keeping alive an emergency schedule, while taking to the streets again today to ask for solidarity. Maestro currently shows the letters “SOS” continuously at the bottom of the screen and runs an ad in which their most recognizable profiles tell authorities to give them back their equipment [...]

Will businessman get a fair hearing?

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - At 2 pm today the courtcase which could decide Georgia’s future continues. The question before Tbilisi City Court is whether to declare invalid a decree issues by President Mikhail Saakashvili. The decree robbed Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili of his citizenship, thereby making it illegal for him to enter politics. His lawyer appealed the [...]

Media to have common defense

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An attack on one is an attack on all. That’s the principle for a new organization formed today by heads and representatives of several Georgian media units. Within one week a working group will prepare a set of rules for how to coordinate a common response when attacks happen. The initiative comes in [...]

Promise: no Putin scenario in Georgia

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two of Mikheil Saakashvili's ministers say he won’t cling on to power as prime minister after he steps down in 2013, but the president himself refuses to give a definite answer. Prime Minister Grigol Vashadze said it is not going to happen, while Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia went even further and promised it [...]

President Saakashvili, don’t kill the press!

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Today many Georgian newspapers are running the same slogan on their frontpage: "President Saakashvili, don't kill the press!" The reason is a new plan by Tbilisi City Hall to remove newspaper sellers from the whole capital and put in place a new system of kiosks. There is doubt whether the new kiosks will [...]

Ethics charter remains unchanged

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - For the second year in a row, the organization behind a Georgian journalistic ethics charter was unable to pass a revised charter because too few members showed up. At its third annual session on Saturday, held in Tbilisi Courtyard Marriot, three new members were accepted and the chairman was reelected. The changes which [...]

Georgia and NATO

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Georgia with all its successes and challenges, once again is becoming a significantly important case for the USA and the EU, especially in the foreground of the events, which are unfolding in Russia. Georgia’s democratic development, its success in formation of a modern, European and welfare state, will significantly influence the development of political process even [...]

WTO signed Russia up as member

By | December 17th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - After an eighteen year long struggle, Russia on Friday finally signed the document which formally makes it a member of the World Trade Organization. The ceremony took place in Geneva with Elvira Nabiullina, Russia’s Minister of Economic Development, sitting down with Pascal Lamy, head of WTO, to sign the membership agreement. For the [...]

Rubin: Georgia should listen to CoE advice

By | December 17th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Eric Rubin, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs says that the United States supports Georgia’s aspirations towards integration with Euro Atlantic structures and NATO and is working on forming a common position regarding Georgia among the alliance member countries at NATO’s Chicago summit next May. But before the [...]

Georgia sends extra battalion to Afghanistan

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili Friday asked the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for permission to send one more infantry battalion. The decision requires the approval of parliament. Early indications are he is likely to get it at a special session next week. One battalion normally means 600-650 soldiers, but the government has yet [...]

Solidarity!

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Journalists working for an embattled Georgian TV station today called for solidarity and announced that they will found a new media unit. The rally took place in front of a local police building on Nutsubidze Plateau, not far from the center of Tbilisi, and the main demand is that they be allowed to [...]

‘The truth will always win’

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Irakli Alasania, the leader of the Free Democrats and front man of the strongest opposition bloc in Georgia, hits back at ‘fabrications’ spread by the country’s ‘government-controlled media’ about them being pro-Russian. The Free Democrats and the Republican Party are the two groups billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has formed a loose partnership with in [...]

‘Just days left’ of exiled Maestro

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The staff of an independent TV station in Georgia are keeping alive its broadcasts from a radio studio, as its former producer warns that there are only days left until they get cut from the airwaves. “Maybe there are just days left for us to broadcast. The implementation of Imedi 2 enters a [...]

New parliament ‘better than Strasbourg and Brussels’

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian Minister of Regional Development is sure that the new Georgian parliament building (pictured) will be better than parliament buildings in Strasbourg and Brussels. Currently Georgia’s parliament is housed in the old historic building on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi. Following a presidential decision which made changes to the constitution, the assembly will [...]

‘Georgia’s C-SPAN’ had filming interrupted

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

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 [...]

Football star explains why he left

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Public figures continue coalescing around a Georgian billionaire businessman who recently decided to go into politics and a few days ago officially established a new movement called Georgian Dream. At the movement’s launch ceremony in Tbilisi Concert Hall December 11, a famous Georgian football (soccer) player announced that he is leaving the national [...]

Tabula steps up pressure on TI

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian magazine is increasing the pressure on Transparency International and asks its headquarters to cut one the chapters in a report. Tabula has sent a statement to the US ambassador, the director of USAID, and representatives of IREX, and even to the head office of Transparency International in Berlin, asking to have retracted a [...]

New protests in Tskhinvali today

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The opposition leader Alla Dzhioyeva in Georgia’s breakaway republic South Ossetia is calling for supporters to return and continue the protest against the cancelled election results. Dzhioyeva Sunday called off her demonstrations on Tskhinvali’s main square, and asked on supporters to go home. It seemed for a few days that an agreement between [...]

Impartiality and Georgian Courts

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Almost a century ago an English judge, Lord Chief Justice Hewart, pronounced his famous aphorism: “… it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance, that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” (R v Sussex Justices; Ex parte McCarthy [1924]). Since then these [...]

‘Ashton to probe Ivanishvili case’

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is going to confront the Georgian government about the case of a businessman who is struggling to establish a political movement. Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili has been subject to a number of misfortunes at the hands of the authorities after he declared his wish to [...]

Who is protected by the Georgian government – entrepreneur or the consumer?

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

According to the EU Charter of Fundamental rights, an integral part of European values is that the government protects the consumer’s rights. But while the Georgian government claims to be on course towards integration with Europe, it still manages to do this integration in a way so that the Georgian consumers’ interests are harmed. In 2010, [...]

Opposition politician’s son’s beaten

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An oppposition parliamentarian says the physical attack against his son was politically motivated. Giorgi Tsagareishvili, representive of the Free Democrats and head of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice, told DFWatch that his 19 year old son, Zurab, was attacked on the street by strangers and beaten. The attack took place late at [...]

Warns of Russian border raid

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian parliamentarian warns that a statement from Russia's chief security adviser could signal Russian military action of the kind that took place in 2002. Giorgi Targamadze, representative of the parliamentary opposition and a member of parliament’s Trust Group, calls for the government to pay serious attention to accusations made by the Russian Security Council [...]

Strong opposition bloc being formed in Georgia

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili is to form an election bloc and aims at running in next year’s parliamentary election in Georgia. His allies are Irakli Alasania, leader of the Free Democrats, and Davit Usupashvili, leader of the Republican party, Ivanishvili’s press office told Dfwatch. Several polls indicate that if the bloc survives until [...]

Demands censorship accusation retracted

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian weekly magazine wants Transparency International to retract parts of a report which criticizes it for being too cozy with the government. TI said Tuesday that the media in Georgia are subject to indirect censorship through control over the advertisement sector. Control is exerted by a network of friends headed by the [...]

Journalist claims Ivanishvili censored her

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A journalist working for the Georgian online television Presage.tv has left her job, saying businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili pressured her to write laudatory stories about him. “I left the Pressatv.ge, which Misha [President Mikheil Saakashvili] couldn’t destroy but Bidzina [Ivanishvili] has put it in his pocket,” Rusudan Mumladze wrote on her Facebook page yesterday. [...]

How Georgia’s media is censored

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian media is at the mercy of a murky network of friends that extends into both government and the private sector, used for exerting political influence over what is being reported. This monopoly is getting worse, as it is about to grab the newspaper sector too, which has been the only real free [...]

Criticizes prisoner mistreatment

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Georgia’s ombudsman has published a new report which lays out the situation in the country’s detention centers, saying the situation remains problematic. The report was prepared by a team working under the ombudsmann’s office, tasked with carrying out Georgia’s obligations under a United Nations convention to monitor the situation in all detention facilities in order to [...]

Joint statement regarding the situation in Russia

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

The Foreign Relations Committee and the Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee of Georgia’s parliament has made a joint statement regarding the situation in Russia. DFWatch here publishes the statement unchanged.   Joint Statement of the Foreign Relations Committee and the Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia on the Situation in Russia Whereas, [...]

Objections ignored about party financing

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Another surprise bill about election reform made its way to parliament Monday, making it clear that the government intends to ignore objections from a broad section of society when it comes to party financing. Legal persons in Georgia will be prohibited from financing political parties. Only banks will be able to offer parties [...]

Claims judge is partial

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Lawyers representing a Georgian businessman and his wife twice asked the judge to be taken off a case which could decide the country's future because they think the judge is partial in favor of the defendant. Their request was overruled. Judge Shota Getsadze Monday reviewed the appeal of lawyers representing Bidzina Ivanishvili and Ekaterine [...]

Journalists get compensation for May 26 injuries

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Interior Ministry will pay compensation to journalists who went to court for injuries they suffered when police dispersed a peaceful demonstration on May 26 this year. Today Tbilisi City Court reviewed the appeal of the case of journalists from different Georgian media units who asked for compensation for injures to themselves and [...]

Justice, hope, unity

By | December 12th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili says the time has come for ‘real Euro-Atlantic integration and not an imitation of the way to Europe.’ The statement came at Sunday’s launch party in the Tbilisi Concert Hall for the new movement called Georgian Dream. At his first press conference November 1 Ivanishvili touched on the [...]

Late PM’s brother: Ivanishvili gives us new hope

By | December 12th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The brother and widow of one of Georgia’s most popular politicians in the early 2000s were both planning to go to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s launch party for the Georgian Dream movement Sunday. “I will go to the launch party as a citizen who is worried about current events in the country. I am pleased [...]

Civil Society – Fight for Resources

By | December 12th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The entry of a new political force into the Georgian political landscape in the autumn 2001 has focused the spotlight on Georgian civil society organisations (CSO). There is an evident increase in demand for their services nowadays. The Georgian society has become more active in recent times and the CSOs have a potential to play an [...]

Tskhinvali protest continues

By | December 11th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The opposition in South Ossetia won't call off their demonstration on the main square, because they claim the leadership didn't honor an agreement from Friday night. Saturday the man who has lead the region for the last ten years, Eduard Kokoity, announced his resignation as promised, but at the same time made it [...]

New opposition leader launches movement

By | December 11th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Over a thousand people enjoyed a sunny Tbilisi today outside the old Philharmonic, where a new opposition movement is being launched at 3 pm by the businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili. Interpressnews reports that many well-known faces have been spotted in the masses of people registering to be let into the hall. Among them are [...]

Police and defense get a fifth of 2012 budget

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Defense and police get 19 % of the total state budget next year. This represents a quarter of direct appropriations to state bodies. Revenues are expected to be 6 839 399 400 Georgian lari, while expences are calculated to be 6 528 243 300 lari. Revenue from taxes is given as 6 300 000 000, grants 239 399 400 [...]

Rules drawn up for 2012 election

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Gradually the ground rules for next year’s election are being laid as parliament has begun a new round of discussion about election reform. It comes earlier than expected, because recommendations from the Council of Europe (CoE) came sooner than the December 17 deadline, in the form of a working draft published on the [...]

Brief Overview of Human Rights Problems in Georgia 2011

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Human Rights Day is celebrated on December 10. In order to mark the celebration, I would like to offer the public a brief overview of human rights problems revealed throughout the year in Georgia. The human rights protection of which was the most problematic in Georgia during 2011: Right to a fair trial – the problem [...]

South Ossetian leader resigns

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity today resigned as part of a deal with the opposition which also allows its leader to run in the breakaway republic's rescheduled election in March. Eduard Kokoity, the de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway republic South Ossetia, today announced his resignation . Acting president will be the current [...]

Warns against new definition of ‘refugee’

By | December 9th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The pressure group Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) warns that a new, narrower definition of what it means to be a refugee could expose people to danger. GYLA is appealing to parliament regarding a new bill initiated by the government which makes changes to the law about Internally Displaced Persons – Refugees, saying [...]

Knife attack as negotiations are stalled

By | December 9th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Demonstrations are continuing on Tskhinvali’s main square, as the negotiations are stalled. Yesterday evening, a Russian news agency reported that one official was stabbed with a knife during a meeting on the square. The injured, defense employee Soslan Gabuev, received a wound to his chest and was taken to the hospital. The former [...]

End of one party dominance

By | December 9th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgians are discussing how to read the first polls done after a popular businessman decided to join politics. The polls differ drastically, which has lead many to distrust the results. According to one of them, 26.1% of the Georgian population want the newcomer Bidzina Ivanishvili as Prime Minister from 2013. 24.2% of the [...]

Shooting in Tskhinvali

By | December 9th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Six cars and a bus were shot at in Tskhinvali last night, according to the news agency Pirveli. The cars were on the capital's central square, where supporters of presidential candidate Alla Dzhioyeva have been holding out since November 30 to claim victory in the election, which was annulled the previous day. The [...]

Decisive citizenship case postponed

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A court case which could decide the future of Georgia has been postponed due to a judge’s illness. Georgian billionaire and opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili was told Thursday that his and his wife’s appeal about their revoked citizenship has been postponed until December 12, because the judge is ill. The final ruling in the [...]

Solution closer in Tskhinvali stand-off

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Vice speaker of parliament in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia says the current president Eduard Kokoity must resign and the region should be headed by the so-called Prime Minister Vadim Brovtsev. “As the term of president Kokoity has expired, he can no longer perform his duties as president. He should resign, and the [...]

Kidney operated prisoner beaten, but in “satisfactory condition”

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The prison ministry in Georgia says about a prisoner with kidney problems who was beaten before and after his operation, that ‘the patient's health condition is satisfactory’. In a rare exception, the ministry Wednesday publicly made comments to a case about suspected prisoner abuse. The statement was their first comment about the case [...]

Poll: Georgian businessman could win

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgians might elect political newcomer Bidzina Ivanishvili if given the option, but the first polls after he launched his campaign differ significantly. Two polls disagree over newcomer Bidzina Ivanishvili's chances in the presidential competition. One shows him second, another shows he will trounce the ruling party's most likely candidate 32 to 13 per [...]

‘Georgia’s authorities plotting to bankrupt opposition bank’

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An opposition parliamentarian claims that the government of Georgia is involved in a scheme to force a billionaire businessman and political newcomer's bank into bankrupcy. The scheme, as Giorgi Tsagareishvili describes it, involves a combination of legislative changes and a large loan from the businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili's Cartu Bank made with security in [...]

Abkhazia to claim customs tax on Georgian goods

By | December 7th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Alexander Ankvab, the newly elected leader of Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia, says that it’s necessary to establish customs control on the Abkhaz side of the border with Georgia, Russian news agencies report. “It's no secret that in the stores and markets a lot of fruits and vegetables and consumer goods are entering illegally [...]

‘No revolution’: South Ossetian candidate

By | December 7th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Alla Dzhioyeva, the candidate who apparantly won the so-called presidential elections in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia, said today that she does not yet intend to seek political asylum. The comment came after Russian diplomats pointed out that her statement about seeking political asytlum in Russia is meaningless as she is a citizen [...]

Tempers flare over number of MPs

By | December 6th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two opposition blocs exchanged obscenities in parliament Tuesday over what to do about a controversial bill to increase the number of members of parliament (MPs). Georgia’s parliamentary majority is ready to reconsider the decision to increasing the number of MPs. This was decided Tuesday after a verbal confrontation with the opposition in parliament. [...]

Shelling in Tskhinvali

By | December 6th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tuesday the house of the de facto Prosecutor General of South Ossetia was shelled, as the entire opposition movement is considering to ask for political asylum in Russia. Ria Novosti reported the shelling. There are no reports of injuries. Both South Ossetian authorities and opposition leader Alla Dzhioyeva denies responsibility and appeal for [...]

Trends of IDP Eviction and Resettlement in Georgia

By | December 6th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Cases of Eviction of IDPs from different buildings by means of police have recently become rather frequent. With regard to each of such evictions, the government is referring to the State Strategy and Action Plan for IDPs and declares that IDPs are offered with rehabilitated apartments in return. On the other hand, IDPs consider that the [...]

Think twice, advises CoE about Ivanishvili

By | December 5th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Concil of Europe's special commission about election reform has recommended that Georgia lets Bidzina Ivanishvili run in the elections even without a citizenship in the country. The Venice commission recommends that the Georgian government gives people not having Georgian citizenship an opportunity to get involved in election campaigns. Although this recommendation is [...]

-Orange revolution will fail in Tskhinvali

By | December 5th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway republic South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, says what is currently taking place in the region now is an orange revolution, Russian media report. The de facto leader made reference to a reform movement in Ukraine which lead to a peaceful transition of power in 2004, often called [...]

Building a city from scratch

By | December 5th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILSI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili wants to build a brand new city on the Black Sea shore near the breakaway region Abkhazia. Saakashvili made this statement in the town of Zugdidi on December 4, close to the border with Abkhazia. “We have decided to establish a great city between Anaklia and Kulev which will [...]

Improved corruption ranking

By | December 4th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - According to the latest ranking from Transparency International, the perceived level of corruption in Georgia has improved since last year. Georgia gets 4.1 points out of ten and receives the 64th place among 183 countries on the ranking list called Corruption Perception Index, which is published by Transparency International. 0 points mean highly [...]

Ossetian opposition to appeal to Supreme Court

By | December 4th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Supreme Court in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia will Monday decide when to hear the case of Alla Dzhioyeva's supporters, according Atsamaz Bichenov, chairman of the Supreme Court, who is quoted in Russian media. Dzhioyeva supporters are asking the court to recognize Dzhioyeva’s victory in the so-called presidential elections on November 27. [...]

Georgia had real veto power

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria, who was involved in the Swiss meditated talks between Russia and Georgia regarding Russia’s WTO membership, claims that Georgia’s Western partners never considered giving Russia WTO membership without Georgia agreeing. He said this December 2 at a session in the Georgian parliament between three committees; the foreign [...]

Georgia is a partner of ‘the civilized world’

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - According to National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria ‘Georgia appeared as sensible and flexible partner of the civilized world’ during WTO current negotiations. He made this statement on December 2 on the united session of the foreign relations, Europe integration and diaspora relations committees in parliament. According to him, Russia’s WTO membership will [...]

Switzerland will establish border monitoring

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A new border monitoring force between Georgia and Russia will be put together by Switzerland. Sergi Kapanadze, Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, saidthis in the Georgian parliament Friday at the initiative of himself and National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria. Kapanadze has been involved in the Swiss meditated negotiations between Russia and Georgia regarding [...]

Tbilisi TV producer leaves

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Mamuka Glonti, producer in chief and co-founder Maestro TV, has left his post. He announced this on his Facebook page Saturday. Glonti told Interpressnews that they have created  a negative attitude towards him, and he is concerned that this may negatively affect  Maestro's  level of trust. In light of this he believes himself [...]

Georgia pardons Israeli businessmen following deal over pipelines

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia has concluded an advantageous deal with two Israeli businessmen. Simultaneously president Saakashvili pardons Roni Fuchs and Zeev Frenkel, claiming there is no connection with the deal. Following the deal, Georgia will pay only 1/3 of an old claim dating back to the 1990s, thus sparing the state of a 70 million US [...]

Is Georgia a part of, or apart from, the Open Government Partnership?

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

In September 2011,Georgiaopenly announced its aspirations to become a part of Open Government Partnership.  Unfortunately,Georgia’s population is not aware of what kind of commitmentsGeorgia’s government must make in order to become a member of OGP. It is, no doubt,  a positive step for Georgia if our government takes and implements obligations to open   our government for [...]

‘Clan rivalry’ behind unrest in Tskhinvali

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria claims that there is a confrontation between clans in so-called South Ossetia to become the Kremlin favorite. He said this to journalists in parliament Friday, commenting current events in Tskhinvali region. Bokeria said that everybody knows Georgia’s and the international community’s position that any elections can’t be [...]

Ivanishvili to support the press

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili promises to support and help Georgian print media. Lasha Tugushi, editor in-chief of the daily Rezonansi, said this after a meeting with the businessman Friday. Ivanishvili decided to meet with leaders of print media regarding Tbilisi City Hall’s decision, which will involve removing some newspaper kiosk from the capital. City [...]

Which ranking to choose?

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Prime Minister Nika Gilauri recently claimed that Georgia is number one tourism country in the South Caucasus region. But in a ranking of quality of life it gets 214th place, and in a personal safety ranking 215th. Mercer, the world's largest human resources consulting firm, has published its 2011 Quality of Living Worldwide [...]

South Ossetian opposition to boycott Russian Duma election

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Part of the population in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia will boycott the Russian elections for Duma on Sunday, according to Russian media reports. A large section of the population in the Tskhinvali region supported Alla Dzhioyeva in the so-called presidential elections. Kremlin, on the other hand, supported the candidate who came [...]

Businessman will fundamentally reform justice system

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Answering questions on his Facebook page late this week, businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili said he will 'fundamentally reform' the entire justice system, in order to establish independent courts. Ivanishvili was asked mostly about social conditions, unemployment, health and economy, but also said the courts and entire judicial system will be 'fundamentally reformed'. The businessman’s [...]

Lawyer on hungerstrike

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A famous Georgian lawyer is in his sixth day of hunger strike, protesting against the lack of independence of the country’s courts. Zurab Rostiashvili started his hunger strike November 27 because he thinks that in every single case he has worked on, the court has found an innocent person guilty. Due to official [...]

City Hall didn’t expect press’ reaction

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Zaza Gabunia, representative of the opposition Christian Democrats in Tbilisi City Council, claims that ‘the dismantling the press kiosks in the city is impacting the newspapers distribution and the newspaper circulation has decreased with several thousands.’ He see this as a consequence of Tbilisi City Hall’s decision to remove newspaper kiosks in the [...]

Vaulted into an Imedi scandal

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

He scaled the 3 meter wall in the early morning dusk and bolted into the yard as effortlessly as a panther. Images from Maestro TV's surveillance cameras reveal the athletic abilities of the man who now is in control there. The owners of the station are pushing criminal charges after the wall-jumping, which landed Erosi Kitsmarishvili in [...]

TV siege over, feared bloodshed

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The siege of a Tbilisi TV station is over. Producer Mamuka Glonti finally left after being holed up in a cramped studio for a day and a half, saying he was afraid of bloodshed. Exhausted and almost without a voice, the producer of an independent TV station in the Georgian capital emerged from [...]

Negotiations may avoid TV storming

By | December 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Journalists, NGO representatives, politicians and other supporters Thursday gathered in front of the Maestro building to support the journalists and demanded the TV station’s journalists are allowed to continue doing their work. The short rally began on at 15:00 and drew about forty protesters, many students and members of non-governmental organizations, blowing whistles [...]

City Hall defends booth process

By | December 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Hall denies that the tender process to install new kiosks around the Georgian capital is not conducted objectively. In recent days City Hall has been showered in accusations. The ‘booths’ issue was been raised by the opposition Christian-Democrats at a session of the City Council, called as a response to the [...]

Opposition party’s end preceded TV attack

By | December 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The sudden attacked on an independent TV station in Tbilisi was carried out by an opposition politician from a party which was disintegrating the same day, following the advent of a popular newcomer. The man behind the attack is the last remaining leader of a party called the Georgian Party. All his fellow [...]

Police preparing to storm Tbilisi TV station

By | December 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The producer and core personnel at Maestro were still holding out Thursday morning, marking 24 hours of the siege of the TV station. The outside perimeter and the building's first floor are besieged by police and members of a private security force loyal to the station's manager, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, who says he he [...]