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PM says Freedom House report on Georgia is ‘extremely biased’

12 Apr 2018 - 16:44:00

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Agenda.ge,12 Apr 2018 - 16:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili says that Freedom House’s latest report, Nations in Transit 2018, released yesterday is "extremely biased and based on unbalanced information” about Georgia.

I believe that Freedom House should think twice before it spreads such biased assessments about Georgia’s democratic development level,” the PM stated today about the report which lowered Georgia’s democracy score from 4.61 to 4.68.

The Freedom House ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest.

Kvirikashvili stated that Georgia has experienced an "absolutely different and higher level of democracy” after the Georgian Dream leadership came to power in 2012.

We have significantly upgraded the level of democracy in Georgia. The situation in terms of human rights is absolutely different.  We have one of the most active civil sectors and the media is totally free from governmental influences,” Kvirikashvili stated.

He said that in 2010-2011, under the United National Movement leadership, the European Court of Human Rights received about 350-400 lawsuits annually, while in 2017 the figure decreased to  70.

Parliament Speaker Kobakhidze stated that the Freedom House report did not reflect Georgia's significnt progress for democratic developement. Photo by Parliament of Georgia press office. 

The Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze also criticized the report at a special briefing today, stating that the assessments echoed the views of those people and organizations in Georgia which are trying to display progress as regress.

The report is obviously biased against the current Georgian leadership,” Kobakhidze said.

He stated that the human rights situation in Georgia after 2012 has changed fundamentally  for the good, which has not been reflected in the report.

The reality before 2012 was fake elections, the harsh violation of human rights by the previous state leadership, violation of property rights, total control over the court system by state officials, uncontrolled and unbalanced actions of the government representatives. The situation changed after 2012 and the report says that Georgia experienced no significant improvements in democratic development,” Kobakhidze said.

The parliament speaker also criticized the report assessments over the media and said that under the United National Movement leadership almost all the media outlets were under government control, while now the media faces no governmental interferences.

He stated that the report also ignored a series of reforms the Georgian Dream leadership has carried out to strengthen the court system.

The latest report declined Georgia’s democracy score due to two main reasons.

  • Independent Media rating declined from 4.00 to 4.25 due to apparently politicized editorial policies at Georgian Public Broadcasting, continuing pressure on the critical television channel Rustavi 2, and ownership consolidation among pro-government private television stations.
  • Judicial Framework and Independence declined from 4.75 to 5.00 due to the illegal deportation of dissident Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli to Azerbaijan and a high-profile case in which a foreign company faced punitive fines after a deeply flawed judicial process.
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