Internews Georgia considers the right to seize materials from TV Pirveli, granted to the Prosecutor’s Office by the Tbilisi City Court, to be pressure on the media and a gross violation of freedom of speech.
The organization says that the ruling of the court is unjustified and contradicts the freedom of speech ensured by the Constitution, international standards of freedom of expression and European human rights law. For the identification of a journalistic source, Tbilisi City Court granted the motion of the Prosecutor’s Office and allowed that the materials related to Bera Ivanishvili’s audio recordings be seized from TV Pirveli.
At the same time, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia clarifies that TV Pirveli has the right to deny them “any documents, items containing information, or anything else” the seizure of which has been granted by the court. However, Internews Georgia believes that the aforestated court ruling is unprecedented and threatens the independence of the media. Since one of the branches of the government has already allowed such a precedent, there is no guarantee that the confidentiality of journalistic sources will be protected in the future. Therefore, Internews Georgia demands:
- The government to refrain from any kind of pressure on the media, including such highlighted in the above precedent.
- A seventh point to be added to the six-point agreement concluded between the government and the opposition through the mediation of the EU facilitators, which prescribes political entities to undertake unconditional commitment to protect the freedom of media.
Internews Georgia calls on Georgian diplomats, EU facilitators and mediators to persuade the Georgian political spectrum to include the additional clause on the media in the agreement.