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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Thursday, July 4
Freedom House says situation of media improved in Georgia

Liberali reports that the international organization Freedom House has published a 2013 report where Georgia is on the list of partly-free countries in terms of freedom of media. However, the situation in this direction has improved compared to the previous years. According to this year’s estimations, Georgia received 49 points instead of last year’s 52.

The report suggests that the Georgian constitution and legislation is the most progressive in the region in terms of freedom of media. However, last year the influence over the media organizations remained heavy.

Freedom House thinks the new administration is more open in distribution of information. However, activities of the Georgian National Communication Commission have been criticized.

According to Freedom House Georgia has the freest media environment in the region. However, despite the political changes, the media remains politically polarized and the number of objective media outlets remains low.

The report suggests that the Georgian Public Broadcaster remains under the influence of the former government as it is being managed by people who feel loyal to the United National Movement and the board of trustees consists of people approved by President.

The report also emphasizes that TV 9 remains the property of Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s wife, which Freedom House thinks is a formality. The international organization believes the channel is still financed by PM.

According to Freedom House’s report, Facebook is actively used as a source for releasing news, while print media based in Tbilisi are not active on the internet.

Construction Company not to be sanctioned for damaging Travertine

Newscafe reports that the Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Nino Sharashidze, said the restoration activities of the damaged Travertine are underway. At a discussion held at the Heinrich Boll Foundation on July 1st, the deputy Minister said Travertine will be given the status of natural monument.

According to Sharashidze, the construction company will not be sanctioned for damaging Travertine, because Travertine of Stephantsminda was not included on the list of protected monuments.

Head of the Greens Movement of Georgian, Nino Chkhobadze, said in an interview with Newscafe, that it is impossible to artificially restore the damaged Travertine, because it is a natural process which may need tens of years. “The only solution would be to strengthen the basis to hinder the process of natural dissolution,” Chkhobadze said, adding that Stephantsminda Travertine has never had the status of natural monuments. However, the Ministry of Environment always used to take responsibility and protect them.