Georgia has been left without an independent nationwide television station, as a result of the authorities' “purposeful efforts,” Sozar Subari, the Georgian public defender, said on July 4.
He was speaking at a conference in Batumi, dedicated to implementation of Georgia’s European Neighborhood Policy action plan.
“The Georgian government boasts of one of the most liberal laws [on media and freedom of speech],” Subari said in his address. “But at the same time there is an extremely grave situation in this field [of freedom of media], which is getting closer and closer to the situation similar to one that once was during the Soviet times.”
“As a result of the authorities' purposeful efforts there actually is no independent television station in the country, except Kavkasia TV, which covers only Tbilisi,” Subari continued. “The other television stations are operating under the strictest censorship of the authorities. News coverage by those television stations is carried out upon dictation and orders of state officials.”
He also said that some businesses advertising on Kavkasia TV were being pressured by the authorities to withdraw their ads from the station.
“Against the background of this situation, a liberal law remains only as a facade, behind which freedom of speech is being stifled,” Subari added.