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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 17
Public Defender Criticizes Release of 'Gay Honey Trap' Videos

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili said in a written statement on January 15 that video footage made public by the Prosecutor’s Office in the case of Military Police gay ‘honey traps’, do not provide persons on the videos with “complete protection” from being identified.

The Prosecutor’s Office said on January 14 that the previous leadership of the Military Police, which is under the Defense Ministry’s subordination, made dozens of secret video recordings of “publicly well-known” men having sex with other men and used those videotapes to blackmail them. The Prosecutor’s Office also released several recordings in which the bodies of persons in the footage were blurred to conceal their identities; the recordings were aired by several television stations. The release of the footage was condemned by gay rights groups.

The Public Defender said in his statement: “Although the released video recordings take measures for concealing the people's identity, these measures, because of their quality, do not provide complete protection from being identified. In the footage it is possible to detect such identification features of a person like body build, hair color and clothing, which may make it possible for certain people to identify them [in the footage].”

The Public Defender said that while there might be high public interest towards criminal cases of such kind, meeting of this interest should in no way come at the expense of violating the right to privacy. “The Public Defender calls on the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office and media outlets to be careful in the future while disseminating information which may harm a person’s private life,” the Public Defender said. (Civil.Ge)

Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs visits Czech Republic

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze paid a visit to the Czech Republic on January 15th. The minister met with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Miroslava Nemcova and the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg. Development of mutually beneficial co-operation between the two countries, prospects for the furthering of relations in multilateral format, issues of Georgia's integration with the European Union and NATO were in focus of discussions. The results achieved in terms of Georgia's rapprochement with the European and Euro-Atlantic structures were also emphasized where the unequivocal support of the Czech Republic was expressed in this regard. Talking points also included Georgian-Russian relations and issues of international importance. Georgian and Czech Foreign Ministers held a joint press conference. Panjikidze also met with representatives of Lidove noviny and Mlada fronta Dnes newspapers and Radio Liberty. (The Messenger)

Andro Barnovi is ready to cooperate with the Georgian Dream members

Shida-Kartli Governor Andro Barnovi says he is ready to cooperate with the representatives of ruling Georgian Dream coalition in Shida-Kartli. Barnovi said at a press conference in Prime Time’s club that he will try to cooperate with the new government in order to “take steps for peaceful cohabitation.”

“I have not yet met with the Georgian Dream representatives in Shida-Kartli, although we will start familiarizing ourselves with the particular issues,” Barnovi said, hoping for successful cooperation with the Georgian Dream. “We are ready to listen to their arguments to ensure more active cooperation, because people should feel that the government works for them,” said the governor.

Barnovi was recently appointed as Shida-Kartli governor by President Mikheil Saakashvili. (Primetimenews)

Zaza Daraseli Foundation will use presidential grant for developing cultural media

Nino Daraseli Head of the Zaza Daraseli Foundation, plans to use 200 000 GEL from the Presidential fund for developing cultural media. Competition for such projects will soon be announced. Nino Daraseli explained that these projects can be performances, art rallies, exhibitions, multimedia projects, as well as print or other types of media.

The Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development is the second organization that has been awarded with 800 000 GEL. The organization plans to use this money for carrying out projects of free media, local self-governments, as well as religious and ethnic minorities.

The project supporting the civil sector and free media development was initiated by President Mikheil Saakashvili on December 17, 2012 and 1 million GEL issued by his reserve fund was divided between the two above-mentioned organizations. (Media.Ge)

Charges Added Against Shota Khizanishvili

Former deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and former deputy Tbilisi Mayor will receive two additional charges. Prosecutor’s office will charge Shota Khizanishvili under two more articles. (IPN)

Infrastructure Minister reports priorities for 2013

In 2013, the Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development of Georgia will spend 180 million GEL more in funds on various infrastructure projects than in 2012. Introducing the key priorities and budget parameters of the ministry funds for this year, Minister Davit Narmania said 341 million from the total of 901 million GEL would be allocated from the state budget, while the rest of the funds will be received in the form of various grants.

The minister said the improvement of regional infrastructure is on the agenda, including the construction of roads, the improvement of the water system and the management of regional dumps. (Rustavi 2)