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Article ukrainian journalists

22.11.2011, 01:39
Ukrainian journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and representatives of several journalistic organizations from the former USSR issued an appeal to the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili cconcerning the use of severe measures against arrested photojournalists.
As it is known, on July 7 Georgian police arrested several journalists: employees of the photo agency EPE, Associated Press agency, Georgian President’s personal photographer, rakli Gedenidze and his wife, Natia Gedenidze, as well as Georgian Foreign Ministry photo correspondent, Giorgi Abdaladze. On July 9 these photo reporters were accused of spying. Tbilisi City Court imprisioned three photographers for two months and Natii Gedenidze was released on bail.
According to relatives of the photojournalists, the detained are all charged with collecting, storing andt ransmitting secret information, documents, certificates and articles to foreign organizations and their representatives. The statement was signed by the IFJ and sent to the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili.
Text of the Appeal:
Dear Mr. President,
We, the representatives of the International Federation of Journalists (and other journalistic organizations), are seriously concerned about the detention of photo correspondents on espionage charges.
To our deep regret, we have to state a fact that the Georgian authorities have used very strict measures without providing the public with sufficient arguments and evidence for taking such actions against journalists.
Such actions are contrary to your statements of commitment to principles of democracy and openness, and have a negative effect on both your personal image as a leader of the state and the perception of the state itself.
We believe that this case requires much more transparency in the provision of all necessary evidence regarding the charges. Also, we urge the Georgian authorities to consider the change of preventive measures with respect to our colleagues.
We hope that the Georgian authorities will ensure a fair investigation into this case and the open-court trial, thus proving its commitment to the rule of law.

Victoria Syumar, Institute of Mass Information, Ukraine

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