19:56, Monday, 21.05.2018
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“I Will Break Your Hand, Will Dig out Your Eyes; …You!...”


Gela Mtivlishvili
Information Center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti (ICMM)

A cameraman from Studio GNS was not allowed to film the Dusheti municipal board building. A security police officer cursed at the cameraman, threatened him with physical assault, and hindered his professional activities.

The incident occurred when the GNS cameraman was filming the district administration building, standing about 10 meters away from the office entrance.

Security police officer: You can film from 50 meters distance; I will not allow you to come up closer.

Camera-man: Why can’t I film?

Security police officer: You can’t.

Camera-man: Do you realize that you are hindering my professional activities?

Security police officer: I know that you cannot [film]. Leave the area… You will just create problems for us.

Camera-man: You are interfering with my activities.

Security police officer: My friend, listen to what I am telling you.

Camera-man: Do not touch the camera.

Security police officer: Listen to what I am telling you

Camera-man: Do not touch the camera.

SPO: Turn the camera away.

CM: Do not touch the camera.

SPO: Turn the camera away.

CM: I told you already, do not touch the camera!

SPO: Take your hand… I will break your hands!

CM: Mind your behavior now!

SPO: I will dig your eyes out, … you! Realize what you are doing. Take the camera away.

After the incident, GNS journalist Bela Zakaidze tried to enter the district administration office but security police officers did not allow her inside. The police officer who was initially intimidating the camera-man locked the door from the inside.

Before seeing the video-recording, Dusheti district Governor Vladimer Badagadze told Information Center Mtskheta-Mtianeti (ICMM) that no incident had taken place in the administration building. 

“We assisted the film-crew in getting all the information they needed. They recorded the building without any problems. When the camera-man tried to enter the building with the camera, he was politely informed that it was prohibited; and they [the journalists] did not like it,” Badagadze said.

After having seen the video-recording, the district governor said: “The security police officers have their supervisor and he will discuss this particular case. We will do our utmost in order to prevent any similar incidents in the future.

-Mr. Vladimer, you have worked in law enforcement institutions during many years. It is clear that a separate person supervises the security police officers, but do you not take responsibility for this incident as district governor?

-All incidents will be reviewed. I am against violence!

Mtskheta-Mtianeti region deputy governor Givi Amirkhanashvili had not heard about the incident prior to talking to ICMM: “I do not know anything. I will clear everything up,” Amirkhanashvili said.

Tamar Kordzaia, lawyer: “The trend of oppressing journalists and interfering in their professional activities is increasing [in the country]. They [governmental officials] try to oppress critical journalists. With so many cases, it looks like it’s the general policy of the authorities; as if someone issued general instructions for everybody. The government should investigate all cases and punish offenders under the law. Unless the government does this, violators are encouraged to continue in the same way. As for the district administration’s office, it is a public office where anyone can enter. Security police shall uphold public order. When the security police officer does not allow a journalist to film in the area, he is violating the law and abusing his power.”

It is not the first time that security officers of the Dusheti district administration prevented journalists from filming in this public building.

On July 5, 2011 ICMM journalists wanted a notification on the delivery of a public information request and administrative suit. However, chief security officer Temur Abulashvili did not let the journalists into the building and insulted them.

On August 2, 2011 security police officers assaulted ICMM correspondent Manana Kveliashvili when she entered the Dusheti district administration building, seized her bag and searched it. Kveliashvili recalled that the head of the district administration’s press-center, Irma Jangirashvili, followed the security police officers and asked them not to plant anything in the bag.

After the incident, municipal board member Zurab Otiashvili (de-facto governor of the district) and Manana Kveliashvili had the following conversation:

Zurab Otiashvili: Why are you running, are you afraid we can detain you?

Manana Kveliashvili: Why would you detain me?

Z.O. Why not? Can’t we detain you?

M. K: You are not authorized to detain me. You are an ordinary member of the municipal board!

Z. O. I worked for the security service for 15 years. I have detained so many people…


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