The messenger logo

Eight years passed since the events of November 7, 2007

By Messenger Staff
Monday, November 9
Eight years passed since November 7 of 2007, when the previous state leadership brutally dispersed thousands of peaceful demonstrators in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi and raided Imedi TV, a private media broadcaster.

This day will always stay in memories of those journalists who attended the developments to inform the public concerning the ongoing situation. However, like many others, they became the subjects of rubber bullets, water cannons and the fists of special task police officers.

Those current members of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) were ruling the country when freedom of expression and the media were trampled down.

Georgia’s current Prime Minister, along with the President, made special statements concerning the day, promising once again that such incidents would never take place in the country.

Despite the fact that shortly after the rallies, the then-President Mikheil Saakashvili resigned, he was soon re-elected in suspicious circumstances; the opposition and Non-Governmental sector both voiced their discontent at the time, though the Government was not removed until 2012.

Commenting on the anniversary, Giorgi Vashadze, a member of the UNM, has stated that the current state leadership was “repeating the same mistake concerning the private broadcaster Rustavi 2”, which is the subject of legal despite between its current and former shareholders, and Georgians will not forgive them for doing the same.

However, the fact is that no one raided Rustavi 2 ,and unlike Imedi TV in 2007, Rustavi 2 still has the chance to broadcast.

Herewith, there are no rallies made up of thousands of people and not a single violent dispersal has taken place since 2012, during the time of the previous state leadership.

In addition, there are no media outlets in the country that are owned or controlled by the Government. When coming to power in 2012 ,the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili closed the media outlet Channel 9, as he did not want to fuel speculation that any media channel was controlled by the authorities.

In contrast, the Government's influence on leading media outlets was obvious under the former state leadership. There were various statements made by different organisations concerning the former Government’s dictatorial approaches; however, the Government ignored them, and the international community had never been as critical to the previous state leadership’s activities as it is to the current one.

On coming to power, the previous Government immediately started arresting their predecessors, took money from them and then released them.

Now if the Government detains any members of UNM, the detention is immediately taken as an attack on the party.

Where, then, is the justice? It is internationally acknowledged that justice should stand above all else.

Of course, the current Government also makes mistakes, but when it comes to freedom of expression and the media, the situation is completely different. Unlike during the Saakashvili-era, no one is afraid to openly state his opinion and is not afraid that he/she might be sent to prison because of this.

With regards to the current state leadership, there are several important targets they must meet, otherwise they will fail.

We need qualified professionals in all executive, legislative and judicial fields. We need professionals to do their jobs appropriately and offer a better economic situation in the country. We need law-enforcement bodies and courts that will not be afraid of domestic and foreign influences, and deliver fair, clear verdicts with the principle that everyone should be equal before the law.