GEORGIA


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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press



MARCH 10, 2003

"60 Minutes," Rustavi-2
HARASSED, LEGAL ACTION

The Georgian Supreme Court published a statement requesting that the prosecutor general conduct a criminal inquiry into "60 Minutes," a biweekly investigative news program on the independent, Tbilisi-based television station Rustavi 2, in retaliation for its reporting on widespread corruption in the judiciary and the police force.

The statement was printed in the March 10 edition of the state-owned Tbilisi daily Sakartvelos Respublika.

Khatuna Charkviani, a press officer at the Supreme Court, confirmed in a telephone interview with CPJ that the court had issued the statement in Sakartvelos Respublika because the February 16 edition of "60 Minutes" revealed that government officials whom the program had previously caught on hidden camera talking about bribes they had taken and engaging in other corruption had been fired and later rehired. While Charkviani conceded that no specific press law prohibits journalists from using hidden cameras, she claimed that the practice is unconstitutional and violates three criminal laws.