Giorgi Gabunia, acting general director of Mtavari Channel, made an extraordinary statement about the secret wiretaps published by the government-controlled media.
Giorgi Gabunia calls on the Public Defender, non-governmental and international partners, and Ambassadors to inquire about the fact of surveillance on journalists at the " Mtavari Channel" and to respond accordingly.
Last night, the Government, through its controlled media outlet Maestro and its agent, the so-called Unknown, published an illegal wiretap made here in the Mtavari Channel building, in the next room, where the journalists and producers of Post Factum program usually gather to plan their programs. Once again we made sure that under the Georgian Dream there is no place left in the country where we are not being watched and wiretapped. Illegal wiretapping of journalists working on investigative journalism issues takes place not somewhere on the street, but right here in their offices.
And it does not matter in what form the illegal recording takes place - through specially installed surveillance equipment, through cell phones or computers on the premises, or in any other way. What was the purpose of releasing this recording now? -Was it just to start an investigation, as it was done when a video was released in the name of Hakim Pasha, followed by an investigation, or when David Khidasheli delivered the maps and a case was brought against the cartographers. Why did the government need to publish this tape this time? - Most likely we will see and understand it soon.
Why would they want to use these excerpts from our conversation? It is clear that not only this section had been recorded - imagine how much is actually being recorded and in how many places, in how many rooms! Naturally, no one believes the story that the Unknown told us - how a person troubled by conscience came to him and handed over a tape, which he had recorded on his own free will, then, as it turns out, he has been keeping it from November until now - this conversation that you heard took place in November of last year - And now suddenly for some reason he couldn't stand it anymore and decided to hand over the material to Gia Gachechiladze... I am sure that no one believes this story.
The fact is that the material was published on a government channel and was separately additionally covered live on the main government media outlet Imedi, which was used, among other things, to supposedly try to unmask our critical media, but in fact they have once again disclosed themselves and the fact that we are being bugged and watched everywhere and by everyone. As I said, these recordings contain excerpts of a real conversation. This discussion between me and my colleagues really took place in this building in November 2021, when I was the host of Post Factum, but as always there are traces of editing, especially in one of the places where Lasha Kveseladze speaks, then a hoarse sound is heard and then I kind of continue the topic. I'm not going to discuss the content or the details of our conversation, just as we are not discussing the content of other illegal recordings on this channel, unless the material contains criminal facts or information of high public interest. I will only say one thing - I am very curious, where in this recording did they see evidence that we are fabricating events and planning to cover news made up by us?
If you show written messages and voice them, do they think it's forgery? Here , we are obviously dealing with the problem of comprehension , and, moreover, with a completely deliberate lie. The crime and high public interest here is only one fact - there is total illegal surveillance in Georgia, I repeat, no matter by which method. Unfortunately, in the conditions of oligarch Ivanishvili it is ridiculous to demand an investigation - how will they investigate their own crime? If they do start investigating, it will be again only to achieve their own goals and seize power even more firmly, as it happened after the release of Hakim Pasha's video or the maps brought by Khidasheli from Russia.
That's why I am not asking for things that don't make sense. I am asking the Public Defender, non-governmental organizations and, of course, our international partners, organizations, Ambassadors, our European and American friends - be sure to inquire about the fact of surveillance on the journalists at the " Mtavari Channel", study this fact and take appropriate measures, because in our country we have neither an impartial investigation nor an independent court anymore. Apart from you, we have no independent agency to turn to.
Our local, European and American friends, look at the conditions under which the critical media have to work in Georgia - the general director of the Mtavari Channel is in jail on absurd charges, journalists are wiretapped in their offices - like in Russia; we are beaten, crippled and condemned to death in the streets - like in Russia - and at the same time the seized parliament passes such laws that we can no longer exist, they strangle us financially in order to close us down.
For the same purpose, businessmen are totally intimidated, so that no one dares to cooperate with us. I will tell the Georgian Dream: You can't intimidate us by publishing records. We will continue to work and expose the already internationally recognized oligarchic government that isolates Georgia from the West and pursues Putin's interests. It's been two months since Nika Gvaramia has been arrested, and many thought we wouldn't last that long and would shut down. But as you can see, we are still here and we are not going to fall apart. Continue your illegal surveillance of us for as long as you want, both on and off the air. Thank you for not missing anything and always being willing to listen to us. We already know we are very important to you. Thank you.