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We will not Yield Palitra – Preventive Action to Protect Mediapalitra

09.06.2011

The journalists held a solidarity action in the yard of the Office of Publishing House at 14:00 pm on June 8th. The politicians and the representatives of NGOs joined the action. As the action participants stated, this action has a preventive nature.

“Journalists started to have doubts about the unscheduled inspection of six different Ltds of Media House and sealing of its units. They link these developments to the objective covering of May 26th protest disruption and express hope that it is just an assumption and Mediapalitra is not under threat,” – states the newspaper Rezonansi (Resonance) in the article entitled “We will not yield Palitra/preventive action to protect Mediapalitra.

According to Rezonansi, more than 100 journalists gathered at the office of Mediapalitra along with the members of political parties and ordinary citizens. They state that Palitra is an example of free speech and they will fight till the end to save it if they see that the freedom of speech is endangered.

Inspection of Mediapalitra started on June 7th that impeded the work of Media House. The Revenue Service disseminated a statement regarding the inspection of Mediapalitra. Revenue Service asks the political parties to refrain from politicizing the inspection process in the enterprises of Mediapalitra and calls on them to give Revenue Service a chance to fulfill the procedure envisaged by law. The head of Public Relations Department of Revenue Service Ana Gogichadze stated at the special briefing that at this stage along with tens of organizations, inventarization is taking place in four enterprises of Mediapalitra which are: Ltd JEP, Ltd Publishing House Color, Ltd Polygraph Material and Ltd Publishing House Palitra. Revenue Service states that none of these enterprises have been checked since their foundation and as for the inventarization process, it is short and simple.

“The Council of Journalistic Ethics Charter expresses solidarity to the journalists of Publishing House Mediapalitra and addresses the Revenue Service and representatives of other public bodies to transparently conduct the process of inspection and not to hinder the journalists to perform their professional duty.

Mediapalitra inspection caused problems for the newspaper Versia (version). The work of Versia as a partner of Mediapalitra was impeded to some extent as the Wednesday edition of this newspaper was distributed late and the editorial stuff of Versia had to apologize to the readers,” – states Rezonansi.

Georgian Media Club also disseminated a statement: “We think that the unscheduled inspection of Mediapalitra by the Revenue Service serves the only purpose – government tries to exercise terror and impede work of all those media outlets which are not part of its propagandist machine…”

Other media means are expressing solidarity to Mediapalitra: tribuna.ge, Geonews, Asaval-Dasavali, information agency Pirveli, Sakinform, radio Utsnobi and others… Political parties are also expressing their solidarity – Free Georgia, New Rights Party, Christian-Democrats, Labor Party, Republicans, Free Democrats, Democratic Movement and others. Politicians state that they will do everything to protect free media.

The main editor of the newspaper Rezonansi Lasha Tughushi states that this fact is not only the attempt of pressure against Palitra, but an attack against the Georgian press as a big part of Georgian press dissemination falls on Mediapalitra and if its work is impeded, then automatically every newspaper will have a problem: “They inspect those units that are the foundations for Palitra as well as other newspapers. These are the printing-house and the service of press dissemination. Mediapalitra has the fastest and strongest press dissemination service which disseminates other newspapers as well. This is one more step towards hindering the press dissemination – I openly express my protest against all this,” – states Lasha Tughushi to the correspondent of Rezonansi.

“I always say that I am for the negotiations and I will not go out on the streets. But if Palitra is attacked, this is going to be the case when I go out on the street and will stand there until the government stops oppressing free speech,” – states the member of Christian-Democrat movement Inga Grigolia.

Zviad Dzidziguri from Conservative Party states that Oppositional Eight has already notified the representatives of EU and expresses hope that the international community will help Georgian society to protect Mediapalitra,” – adds the author of the article.

Governmental team expressed its displeasure over the solidarity protest towards the Mediapalitra leadership. The representative of Mediapalitra Marika Darchia states that she was told that they should not have politicized this case. However, Darchia states that the protest was the desire of journalists and it is natural that she did not refuse it.

Mikheil Machavariani, the Vice Speaker of Parliament of Georgia commented on the fact of Mediapalitra inspection by the Revenue Service. She cannot understand why the politicians are making such a big deal out of it. She cannot understand the suspicion of part of the society either, as if the Mediapalitra inspection is linked to the covering of May 26th events. According to him, “the main thing is that the work of media outlets is not hindered.”

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