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Public Defender Responds to Rustavi 2 TV Story

12.10.2015

 
October 11, 2015

The Public Defender has responded to the 9 October TV story of “Rustavi 2” news edition “Kurieri” about Akhmed Chatayev being put on the United States’ global list of terrorists.

The pathos of the reportage was that the organization led by the incumbent Public Defender in 2012 was allegedly defending "terrorist" Akhmed Chatayev and was demanding his release. Despite the fact the current executive director of the NGO made a full explanation about the Chatayev case, the “Kurieri” journalist emphasized the Public Defender’s role in the case and indicated that Ucha Nanuashvili had refrained from making comments on the issue.

The Public Defender would like to remind the TV channel of correct factual circumstances of the Chatayev case: Akhmed Chatayev has never been charged for terrorism by Georgian law enforcement agencies; he was arrested as a result of a special operation conducted in the village of Lapankuri on 28 August 2012; it is a proven factual circumstance that Chatayev was sent by high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia as a “negotiator” with the armed group, though he was wounded during the special operation, which resulted in his arrest for illegal purchase, possession and carrying of arms. Chatayev was rendered an advocate service by a lawyer of the Human Rights Center. After the hearing of the case, the court cleared Chatayev of charges and he was released. It is also known that Chatayev has lived in Austria together with his family under a refugee status since 2003.

The Public Defender reminds the media company that he still demands investigation of the Lapankuri (Lopota Gorge) special operation of August 2012; questions were raised about the roles of Akhmed Chatayev and a number of the then employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Lapankuri events, though the investigation has not answered them so far.

The purpose of the false information spread by Rustavi 2 TV is unclear. Naturally, similar unconscientious attitude towards professional activity and an attempt to mislead the public raise legitimate questions – does this particular media source serve its main goal of informing the public and promoting healthy discussions around the issue?

According to article 1 of the Journalistic Charter, journalists must respect the truth and the right of society to get correct information, while according to article 5 of the Charter, the media shall correct the published incorrect information which can mislead the public.

The Public Defender considers that intentional dissemination of wrong information by media organizations damages confidence not only towards state institutions but to the media organizations as well. 

Therefore, the Public Defender calls on Rustavi 2 to respect its own professional activities, to refrain from disseminating incorrect information and to promote creation of healthy and professional media environment through its professional and conscientious activities.

 
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