Public Broadcaster aired the video showing torturing of inmates only after citizens gathered in front of the GPB building demanded objective coverage of the issue. 18 September the MIA circulated video showing inhuman treatment of inmates and later other videos were aired by Maestro TV and the 9th Channel, although the given fact appeared to be out of interest of the Public Broadcaster. First Channel viewers were not able to see the videos with torture and beating of inmates until 4 p.m. 19 September.
The given channel started covering the ongoing events with President’s statement at 9 p.m. 19 September. He condemned the fact of torture of inmates and requested punishment of those guilty. After President’s statement the GPB First Channel aired short news about 18 September late night solidarity rally in Tbilisi which was followed by Ugly Duckling short animation.
At 10 a.m. top news was the resignation of the Minister of Corrections, Probation and Legal Assistance Khatuna Kalmakhelidze. They again repeated President’s statement and aired news about protest rallies underway throughout the country. Still it was unclear to viewers what videos caused such protest by citizens.
The First Channel did not air the videos of torture and rape of inmates in 12 a.m. newscast either. At that time the 9th Channel already aired a new video showing inhuman treatment of juvenile inmates. First Channel viewers did not see this information either. Instead of this they could watch the show Life is Beautiful.
The First Channel aired the chronology of the 18 September facts in 4 p.m. newscast as fourth report. Before that they aired live from the protest rally in front of the GPB building and information about protest rallies in several other locations and the statement made by NGOs.
Airing of torturing of inmates was the top news in Rustavi 2 newscasts also. In the morning newscast long report was dedicated to President’s statement and Kalmakhelidze’s resignation. The
videos showing raping and torturing of inmates aired by the 9th Channel and Maestro TV were aired by Rustavi 2 in 12 a.m. newscast. If in the morning newscast they claimed that according to
the MIA the “client” of the videos was Tamaz Tamazashvili, in later newscasts they did not repeat the given text.
In 3 p.m. newscast they aired live the working meeting of President and heads of power bodies, which continued for 17 minutes. Rustavi 2 also dedicated separate report to all protest rallies organized in Tbilisi and regions.
The Day Show presented announced they changed the theme of the program and instead of inviting Basti Bubu Studio children to the show and recalling Inola Gurgulia’s songs; they invited representative of the Public Defender and discussed the topic of torture of inmates.
Imedi did not air the videos shown by the 9th Channel and aired only two-second image of how prison administration representative beats an inmate.
When covering the given topic Imedi aired only the statement by President, Public Defender and other persons.
When covering the rally in front of the Prison No 8 Imedi made accent on the fact that the rally was organized by the Georgian Dream. About the rally in front of the State Philharmonics Imedi said that Georgian Dream leaders moved to that location and that they were joined by representatives of non-governmental organizations and opposition representatives. Footage showed Georgian Dream representatives and interviews with opposition members. Regular citizens were not shown in the report.
2 p.m. newscast was different and they said that the day rally at the Philharmonics was organized by civil society.
Real TV was distinguished by expressing its own opinion when airing reports about the torturing of inmates. In 1 p.m. newscast Reality the presenter said:
“Somehow Maestro aired the given videos only after the MIA circulated the scandalous footage of torturing of inmates ordered by Tamaz Tamazashvili. Airing of additional footages creates impression that these videos were filmed on purpose and airing them was the necessity now ahead
of planned time.
Allegedly the scenario ordered for solid compensation by Ivanishvili’s favorite and Shevardnadze’s era power officer Tamaz Tamazashvili was aimed at starting international scandal.”
The TV-Company made accent on the relation of the Georgian Dream to the given fact and claimed that “behind all this stood Bidzina Ivanishvili’s favorite Tamaz Tamazashvili.”
When covering the 18 September protest rally the channel announced that among the protesters the majority was “opposition party representatives.” In relation to the rally in front of the Gladni Prison No 8 the channel said that “dreams deny relation to the creation of given footages.”
Maestro TV newscast was being aired every hour. The channel aired all videos showing torturing of inmages circulated by other media outlets and in social networks.
From 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. Maestro aired all solidarity rallies organized in Tbilisi and other cities.
Maestro newscasts also showed President’s working session with government authorities and the statements made by Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili and Chairman of Parliament David Bakradze on the facts of torturing of inmates. The channel also aired comments by opposition parties’ representatives.
Videos showing torturing of inmates were the main topic in the 9th Channel newscasts since the morning. Presenters discussed the given issue with invited guests in the studio.
At 12 a.m. the channel aired a new video footage showing inhuman treatment of juvenile inmates. They also repeated the video footage showing raping of inmates circulated first time 18 September.
During the day the 9th Channel in detail covered the protest rallies and aired live interviews from almost all rallies. They also aired statements by President, Prime Minister and Chairman of Parliament, although they did not show the working session of President and heads of power bodies.
P.S. The given material discussed coverage of ongoing topics by Georgian TV-Companies until 5 p.m. 19 September.