President Saakashvili dismissed criticisms about lack of freedom of media, although said the authorities were committed to take more measures to further improve media environment.
Speaking in a live televised question and answer session with the public on January 23, Saakashvili said that many opposition leaders were complaining about lack of media freedom and freedom of speech “while speaking live on the television.” “It is ridiculous,” he said.
When one journalist from print media, present in the studio, told the president that he disagreed with him on the matter and cited reports from international watchdog groups, Saakashvili responded: “If you are telling me in live air that you face a problem of freedom of speech, because some international organization, based on some Georgians’ accounts, say so… are you talking with me from Mars or from here? We all live here and we know well why this manipulation is taking place – just because to say that the Georgian government does not need support and we inform you that we have problems. There are many talk shows and this is good and it will be better if we have more.”
He said that Georgia’s response to Russia’s aggression was “more democracy and openness.” The President said that a representative from the parliamentary minority would be able now to take a seat in the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC).