Tamar Makharashvili, kakheti
Kakheti regional newspaper “Imedi” ceased publishing. The editorial board of the newspaper made this decision today.
Gela Mtivlishvili, editor of the newspaper “Imedi” stated that private companies and other people have been forbidden to place their advertisements in the newspaper “Imed” under the directions of the Kakheti regional administration for several months already.
“For the same reason, the number of subscribers has reduced. Despite financial difficulties we managed to publish the newspaper but lately the editor and personnel of the newspaper have been persecuted under the directions of the deputy regional governor Giorgi Sibashvili. Furthermore, Gocha Sibashvili, brother of the deputy regional governor, ordered the policemen to arrest Gela Mtivlishvili late last night. Although Gocha Sibashvili officially is the head of one of the divisions of Gurjaani district police department, in fact he is running the entire department.
“Reliable people informed the editorial board and Gela Mtivlishvili about the plans of the local authority. Today, we were informed that deputy regional governor ordered several officials from Gurjaani district administration to punish the journalists of the “Imedi” but the later refused. Consequently, Sibashvili intends to fire those officials.
“We cannot work efficiently under such terror; so we have to stop working,” it is written in the statement of the newspaper “Imedi”. The personnel of the newspaper irritate the regional governor’s administration by publishing critical articles and journalistic investigations about the local authority.
“I am ready for struggle. I know much more than people expect from me… I appreciate and enjoy fighting with lawful methods for the results and it encourages me even more. Let us see what results we will have; I also like scandals,” the deputy regional governor made this statement in his interview with the journalist of the newspaper “Imedi”. We would like to clarify that we are not fighting anyone. We did our professional job.
The regional newspaper “Imedi” was published in Kakheti since 2003. Gela Mtivlishvili was editor of the newspaper since 2005. During their activities the journalists of the newspaper were attacked several times. Shells were exploded in the house of the editor two times; then his assassination was attempted; later he was attacked and beaten. None of these incidents were investigated. Several days ago, one more criminal case was launched against the journalists.