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24.04.2011 20:27

Journalism Mission to War-Affected Village

David Mchedlidze

Village Dvani in Kareli region, located in the vicinity of breakaway South Ossetia, neighbors two Ossetian villages such as Muguti and Didmukha. During the 2008 Georgian-Russian war Dvani was inflicted considerable damage. 50 per cent of houses were first looted and then set fire by the marauders. Currently the village dwellers have poor living conditions. Dvali residents live in constant fear since Russian militaries have check-points set up on the mountains surrounding the village. Russian soldiers keep patrolling the village through spyglasses. Shooting is not that rare thing to hear either. For a month now the Dvali villager Vasil Kobakhidze has been behind bars in Tskhinvali for visiting the village chapel. He was arrested by Russian militaries for illicitly crossing the border. The talks between the parties over his release have been on with no result. The village lacks irrigation water. The canal has been blocked from Tskhinvali for over two years. Locals call for help. Journalists happen to appear in Dvali for the incident prevention working group meeting only.

Georgian domestic NGO GO Group organized a journalism mission to Dvani. Up to 10 Georgian and foreign journalists showed concern into the problems the Dvani dwellers face. The delegation included representatives of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The meeting with the villagers was held at Zaal Akhalakatsi's family. As far as you are concerned Go Group Media runs Tvitmkhilveli (eyewitness) Studio producing documentaries made by civil journalists. The village dwellers were shown documentaries. After the screening a discussion was held. According to the studio manager Mate Demetrashvili any citizen is eligible to make a movie and get paid. In addition, he said, journalists learned a lot about the life in the village. Locals defiantly talked about their problems. Journalists, Mate Demetrashvili stressed, should be frequently visiting the villages located in the vicinity of the occupied territories to get the locals' viewpoints and problems publicized.

This is the first time up to 10 journalists have arrived in Dvani to talk to the locals. Speaking to the visitors Dvani dwellers said the village lacks government's attention and social aid unless otherwise it will be impossible to further stay on there. Go Group is planning to organize journalism missions to other regions countrywide.







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