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10 Sep, 2008 17:32

Georgia accused of press freedom violations

Media freedom advocates, Reporters Without Borders have called on the Georgian government to allow people access to all media outlets, including Russian cable TV and websites. RWB says press freedom has seriously deteriorated since the outbreak of hostili

Officials in Tbilisi have admitted to deliberately blocking all Russian outlets.

RWB is an organisation which fights for press freedom and denounces violations of human rights all over the world.

They say the rights of journalists working in the conflict zone have been repeatedly violated and one camera man was even killed while filming a Georgian army base.

According to the RWB report, almost all TV stations now operating in Georgia are pro-Saakashvili and the only opposition channel ‘Kavkasia’ is having difficulties during broadcast.

The RWB official website writes that on September 1, transmission of Kavkasia’s daily programme was cut short as guest political analysts criticised the Georgian position, pointing out that the country had lost 20 per cent of its territory and there was “no reason to rejoice.”

The official explanation for the loss of signal was a technical problem. However, Kavkasia director Nino Jangirashvili told journalists: “I have serious doubts about this version.”

Also, Georgian authorities closed one of the country’s most popular discussion websites, Forum.ge. It was reopened later, but users were asked to make every effort to avoid another closure by refraining from comments “harming the interests of the state” or “liable to lead to a split in the country.”