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Abkhazian Journalists Call Upon De Facto Government to Stop Pursuing Media

A group of Abkhazian leading journalists called upon Sergey Bagapsh, president of the self-proclaimed de-facto Republic of Abkhazia and the de-facto Parliament to stop pursuing independent opposition media and journalists.

The statement was drawn up on July 27 after the Round Table on the freedom of speech. The Round Table was initiated by the Abkhazian Journalists and Publicists Guild. The statement can be reviewed at Russian website of the Center for Extreme Journalism. http://www.cjes.ru/lenta/view_news.php?id=17298&year=2007&lang=rus 

“It is appalling that the freedom of speech is under threat by those who, due to their job, are to protect this constitutional right”, the statement reads.

“Although Government never likes criticism, nowadays the discontent has acquired the feature of Soviet Regime and journalists are pursued more and more frequently by courts, they are continuously called to Prosecutor’s Offices and militia controls them all the time,” journalists underline.

According to the statement “de facto government verbally shows its commitment to democratic norms; however they usually violate them in their activities”.

The journalists consider that “the problem related to the freedom of speech refers to everyone, not only journalists. In Abkhazia neither the owner nor the first secretary had ever had right to prohibit people to discuss the issues they considered essential. It will not happen now either!”

“We have to make a choice what is more important: to express our opinion openly regarding any topic or to pretend that everything is going smooth and no problems are being faced. We are confident that Abkhazian citizens will choose the first alternative, since the freedom of speech is the most essential achievement of our 10-year-fight for independence,” the journalists noted.
The participants of the Round Table comprised Akhra Bzhania, Head of the Abkhazian Journalists and Publicists Guild, newspaper editors - Izida Chania (Nuzhnaya Gazeta), Inal Khashig (Chegemskaya Pravda), Vitali Sharia (Ekho Abkhazii), Ibragim Chkadua (Forum), Sergey Arutinov (Novi Den), Vladimir Zartania, Director of Abkhazia – North Caucasus Cultural Fund, MPs Rita Lolua, Batal Kobakhia and Adgur Kharazia, Executive Secretary of the public-political movement “Forum” Astamur Tanya, Abaza-TV journalist Valeri Kuraskua, editor of Abaza magazine Genadi Alamya and the leader of public organization  Samshoblo (motherland), Temur Nadaraya.

Source: Media.ge

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