Web Portal on Human Rights in Georgia

Media Institute Echoes the Dissemination of the Video Footage about Zviad Ratiani’s Detention

Media Institute is alarmed with the dissemination of the video-footage about the arrest and detention moments of the poet Zviad Ratiani by the Georgian Public Broadcasting, Channel 1. 

Media Institute believes that with the airing of abovementioned footage, the GPB violated the right to privacy, which is guaranteed under the Constitution of Georgia. 

Yesterday, the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics made a statement, which states that the director of the news block of the GPB Giorgi Gvimradze and editor of the website Irina Dekanoidze violated the first and tenth principles of the Charter.

Principle 1   

A journalist must have respect for the truth and the right of the public to accurate information.

Principle 10 

Journalists and media shall respect the right to privacy of the individual and not interfere into private life if the special public interest isn’t present.
Media Institute shares the concern of the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics and believes that there was not special public interest in the case of poet Zviad Ratiani, and neglecting the principles of journalistic ethics by the GPB raises doubts that the GPB respected the position of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and tried to hide allegedly unlawful activities of the law enforcement officers.

Besides that, the GPB breached the journalistic principles when they disseminated the video-footage in online media. It means, the online editions, which published the video from Zviad Ratiani’s detention, breached the first and tenth principles of the Charter.

On the other hand, the MIA breached the law of Georgia on personal data protection. The law enforcement officers video-recorded the detention of the citizen by their mobile phone instead the surveillance camera that was their obligation. At the same time, it must be noted that the disseminated video-footage is not complete and does not show the detention moment of the poet. 

On December 23, in the frame of the police control, law enforcement officers arrested Zviad Ratiani. He blames the officers in physical harassment. MIA claims Zviad Ratiani was drunken, resisted and insulted law enforcement officers, did not allow them to carry out their professional duties. The investigative unit of the Tbilisi prosecutor’s office commenced the investigation into alleged abuse of power by the MIA officers during the detention of Zviad Ratiani.  

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