Butchers of Freedom of Speech and Ivanishvili's Personal Censors | Nika Gvaramia's Special Statement


The regulatory commissions fine of 112 thousand GEL and the response of the Mtavari Channel. Nika Gvaramia said that the TV company won't pay the fine and will appeal against it.

The CEO of the Mtavari Channel also thinks today's decision is illegal and it was made by Ivanishvili's "personal censors". According to him, as of tomorrow the Mtavari channel will show a video about the regulatory commission's employees with the title: "Meet the butchers of freedom of speech and personal censors of Bidzina Ivanishvili.

We would like to make a statement about the decision to virtually shut down our media outlet. Today the Regulatory Commission reviewed and imposed unprecedented amount of fines on us. It is 112 thousand GEL. Previously the record was 58 thousand GEL and the decision was made against us, if you remember then it was a conversation between Shalva Ramishvili and Lasha Natsvlishvili, now the decision has been made regarding these two clips. Or rather they had made a decision earlier in connection with the free Misha campaign and they went to court and the court refused. Tomorrow at 14:00 the trial over those clips of Misha is appointed.

Today, the decision that was made was completely unlawful ... The decision was made because of two clips. The first one, the video of "Shame" and not our product, was brought as a social ad and met all the parameters of social advertising. This restricts not only the right of the media, but also the right of the non-governmental sector to express themselves. The second clip was, as you may remember, about Saakashvili. One was about politicians talking about Saakashvili, the other was about the prison administration.

These clips were considered by the government and the commission to be political, campaign clips. I explicitly state that election commercials serve as anti-advertising for another political force in order to elect someone else. That, too, can be taken into account. I ask - whose election or what election is even going on right now. Mikheil Saakashvili is not an electoral subject of Georgia. Consequently, both formally and materially, this decision is completely wrong and is aimed solely at severely limiting the expression of our civic and editorial position.

It is a censorship decision, and I want you to be aware of Ivanishvili's personal censors and executioners for free speech, who are definitely responsible, and this is not the first time. This person is the main butcher, of course with his corrupt schemes and we have exposed him many times, this is Kakha Bekauri, the next one is Vakhtang Abashidze who pretends to smile and is no different from these dark people and the third one is Ekaterina Imedashvili ... She too is a butcher of freedom of speech.

Now i want to ask - as of tomorrow we are going to have a video clip on those people: Meet the butchers of freedom of speech and personal censors of Bidzina Ivanishvili. Will it be considered a political advertisement as well? I wonder if these three will decide for themselves that this is political advertising.

I assure you we will run it in all cases tomorrow. Since we are not going to pay any money, we will go to court and see if the court can stand the test," said Nika Gvaramia.

Nika Gvaramia appeals to EU Ambassador to Georgia Karl Hartzel, as well as to the U.S. Embassy, the opposition and the media, and urges them to respond to the issue.

"They say this is the European standard, and they are guided by the European standard. That's why I personally request Mr. Karl Harzel to respond to this matter. I also turn to the U.S. Ambassador and explain why - our Freedom of Speech and Expression Act is recognized by the European Committee. The U.S. Ambassador should look into this issue directly and respond to it immediately," said Nika Gvaramia.

"This is a media castration of the non-governmental sector," Nika Gvaramia said, adding that it was a direct blow to the non-governmental sector. He also explains the problems the opposition would face with such a precedent:

Your restriction is that virtually nothing can appear in the media that talks about any person or corruption or judicial clan or misappropriation of power or election fraud, nothing can be posted anywhere on any channel ... For example, announcing an opposition party rally and explaining the what and where, etc., which is absolutely not political advertising, but carries an informational load, is also forbidden to us. This is an absolutely normal practice and does not represent an electoral advertisement, especially in a period without elections," Nika Gvaramia said.

The CEO of the Mtavari Channel also appeals to other TV stations:

"We hope that you will stand with us. Of course, we know that the same fate will befall on you too, and we know you've been the victim of all this many times, but this is taking on unprecedented proportions against the Mtavari Channel."  said Nika Gvaramia.