NGOs about Viber conversation between journalist Shalva Ramishvili and the general director of the Imedi TV station.
The organizations below would like to state their position regarding a Viber conversation between journalist Shalva Ramishvili and the general director of the Imedi TV station. The conversation, which shows them planning TV Show “Politics” of 18 December, was published by journalist Shalva Ramishvili. If the chat is authentic, it reveals how Imedi General Director Mr. Bakhtadze asked Mr. Ramishvili to invite the judges and particular members of the Supreme Council of Justice to his TV show. The individuals in question include Tamar Alania, Merab Gabinashvili, Dimitri Gvritishvili and Giorgi Tkavadze. According to the same conversation, Mr. Levan Murusidze, secretary of Supreme Council of Justice, was taking part in the planning of the TV Show by providing the general director of TV Imedi with information about particular judges who were to be invited.
Obviously, the above-mentioned members of Supreme Council of Justice are not likely to ask critical questions to the secretary of the Council. That condition appeared to have been a precondition for the author of the TV show. It is also noteworthy that the general director of Imedi TV station demanded the exclusion of Mr. Zaza Khatiashvili, the chairman of Georgian Bar Association, from the people who were invited to the TV show.
Apparently, the secretary of Supreme Council of Justice was directly taking part in selection of TV show guests and had the support of the general director of the channel. In addition to that, the conversation includes not only the names of desirable guests, but also a discussion about the questions that were to be asked during the show. Unfortunately, it appears that the secretary of Supreme Council of Justice and the selected judges were attempting to hide the real situation and to inform the public. None of the questions asked by the invited judges were critical or aimed to arise the real problems. It was obvious during the TV show that the judges were biased supporters of the secretary of Supreme Council of Justice. This manner of the Council members’ involvement in the planning of TV Show is completely unacceptable as it serves the purpose of misleding the public. During the TV show, those judges were presented as opponents of Mr. Levan Murusidze and their real attitude toward him was never revealed to the public.
We believe that these attempts to gain the trust of the public and the manner of communication used by some members of the Supreme Council of Justice are not fair or acceptable. Those kinds of steps only serve to discred the Council, as public trust of cannot be secured by means of planning political TV shows and providing one-sided information. Such methods can only have negative consequences.
We believe that the members of the Supreme Council of Justice in question should clarify those facts publicly. The fact of accepting invitation to take part in the TV Show as opponents of Mr. Levan Murusidze by some judges, who have repeatedly and publicly proven their support for him, is likely to raise questions among the public. It would also be interesting to determine whether those judges were deliberately attempting to mislead the public.
At the same time, we urge the Supreme Council of Justice to hold an open session to review the matter and discuss whether it involved unethical or inappropriate behavior by the judges.
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)
Transparency International – Georgia
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
The Center for Human Rights
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information