Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Tuesday said the United States Department of State critical report on human rights practices and restrictions on media in Georgia had been based on information by “politically engaged” and “elite” domestic non-governmental organisations.
Released on Monday, the report highlighted “significant” human rights issues in the country such as “serious problems” with the independence of the judiciary, along with investigations and prosecutions “widely considered to be politically motivated”, “serious restrictions” on freedom of expression and media, including violence and threats of violence against journalists.
Garibashvili said the release was based “mainly” on “biased, subjective and unfair” conclusions provided by domestic NGOs, and highlighted the existence of “hundreds of non-governmental organisations in the country” as evidence of “open democracy” in Georgia.
He also accused NGOs of spreading “false information around the world and try[ing] to discredit the image of our country”, and added his Government was confronting the alleged narratives by “the truth”, which he said “no report can stand up to”.
I became familiar very briefly with the report and the main points that are highlighted. I would like to point out that it is unfortunate that the report is based mainly on [...] biased, subjective and unfair conclusions that were provided and prepared by the so-called elite NGOs, which is certainly unfortunate”, Garibashvili told the local media.
“These are just speculations and conclusions and reports based on false, fabricated information provided by politically engaged, biased individuals. This is not interesting for us”, the head of the Government continued.
He also highlighted the country's “open democracy” by noting the report had relied on information prepared by independent and critical media outlets, but added “their information is not 100 percent based on facts but [instead on] fabricated, false information”.
[B]ut that's normal. This is part of democracy. We are not against it - we are confronting all this with the truth, and no report can stand up to the truth”, the PM concluded in his comments to the press.