The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) launched an investigation yesterday over an alleged phone conversation between Rustavi 2 TV Director Nika Gvaramia and Paata Burchuladze, the leader of the opposition party State for People.
Recording of private Phone conversation
By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, September 15
The alleged recording refers to recent political developments in Georgia. Nika Gvaramia says he is dissatisfied because Girchi members, who are in the political bloc with the State for People Party, want to be in coalition with ruling party Georgian Dream (GD). Burchuladze says the information is not true.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that an investigation was launched into the violation of personal correspondence, telephone calls or disclosure of private secrets.
Office of the Personal Data Protection Inspector also commented on the issue. The Office calls on law enforcement agencies to start an immediate investigation.
“The state is obliged to make an immediate and effective response, particularly when it comes to the pre-election period, the election subject and media,” the statement of the Personal Data Protection Office reads.
The authenticity of the recording has not been confirmed yet, but Rustavi 2 Director General says he really had a conversation with Burchuladze and added that he had nothing to hide. He then accused the State Security Service (SSS) of eavesdropping.
"I called deliberately on an open line because I had nothing to hide. It took three days for the State Security Agency to report this. We live in such a country," Gvaramia wrote on Facebook.
The State Security Agency denies any links with the alleged recording.
“This accusation is groundless. The Security Service denies any involvement in obtaining or distributing the recording. The investigation will reveal who is in charge,” the statement of the SSS reads.
Elene Khoshtaria, a member of the opposition party United National Movement (UNM), believes the government is using illegitimate and undemocratic methods.
“Once and for all we must abandon these methods, and abolish the political police. Interference in private lives and blackmail needs to be ended, "said Khoshtaria.
Another opposition party, the Republicans, condemn secret taping, saying this practice should be abolished.
“I think only Burchuladze was being eavesdropped on, but in any case secret taping is disgusting,” Levan Berdzenishvili from the Republicans stated.
Burchuladze’s party does not deny that the conversation took place. However, they say there is nothing scandalous in it.
According to Davit Jandieri, a member of the State for People, some parts of the conversation are cut out, where Burchuladze says that neither UNM nor GD are his favorites.
“The only scandalous thing is that State Security Agency continues eavesdropping of opposition leaders and independent media,” said Jandieri.