TV channel Rustavi 2 has stressed that they are being illegally eavesdropped upon by the Interior Ministry. According to the special statement made on May 6, a confidential informer from the ministry delivered the evidence to the TV company. General Director of the channel Nika Gvaramia claims that there are up to 100 recordings at the ministry reflecting the situation at the channel.
Rustavi 2 claims to be illegally eavesdropped
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, May 7
“We call on the Georgian Government to stop secret surveillance and eavesdropping on our media outlet. [They should] immediately launch an investigation and strictly punish all who have issued an illegal order or who were aware of this illegality,” Gvaramia said, noting that the apparatus’ were planted in his and deputy Nino Shubladze’s rooms. “We searched the office, but we did not find any other device there,” Gvaramia said.
Gvaramia informed that the channel has two video files depicting his and Shubladze’s working day. “Here are the details of our private life, including personal telephone conversations. According to our source, this source is the Interior Ministry, there are up to 100 files depicting situations inside and outside the Rustavi 2 building. The source says that covert listening devices were installed in the Rustavi 2 building about one year ago,” Gvaramia said.
Gvaramia recognized and apologized that he was a part of such a government that introduced the hidden surveillance. “This was a mistake already recognized by the former government members. However, the new government continues this action that violates human rights,” Gvaramia said.
The Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia has already launched an investigation.
“The Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia will conduct all investigative actions and respectively take all necessary measures for the purpose of establishing objective truth on the criminal case,” Chief Prosecutor’s Office stated, appealing to the employees of Rustavi 2 to cooperate with the competent investigative authorities.
The minority places all the responsibility on the Prime Minister. According to UNM members Irma Nadirashvili and Giorgi Vashadze, the recordings were made when Irakli Gharibashvili was the Interior Minister. They also claim that illegal eavesdropping has been doubled under the new government. “Not only televisions are being eavesdropped upon, we have information that such spying equipment is also planted in the office of the current parliament chair,” Nadirashvili said.
“Several days ago we (NGOs) were told that the new government does not illegally listen to people. This recent news tells us differently,” Executive Director of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Nino Lomjaria said.