News

06
May2013

NGOs condemn the release of secretly recorder video

We would like to express utmost concern over the secretly recorded video released on May 3 that disclosed details of the private lives of individuals. Especially petrifying is the fact that the video is about a journalist, which by itself is worrying due to attempts to pressure media. It is difficult to draw conclusions, prior to a completion of investigation, yet it is clear that some persons want to discredit the said journalist. According to the journalist, ‘the posting of the video online is linked to the plan of revealing a corruption deal, highlighting the participation of representatives from the former and current authorities.’ The journalist also alleges that these very persons are responsible for releasing the video.

After the elections, representatives of the new government stated that they would destroy and protect the videos at their disposal, which depicted the private lives of various individuals. They further stated that they would prevent the faulty practice of making illegal video and audio recordings, which was introduced by the old authorities. Considering this recent claim by the journalist, along with information released in December about the attempt to blackmail the assistant of one of the judges of the City Court with a video displaying private life, doubts arise that the new authorities have failed to undertake effective measures in either destroying and protecting the old videos or in fully preventing the faulty practice. It is crucial to establish: the date of this secret recording; who had access to the material; and how was the video posted online.

Conducting the timely and efficient investigation is necessary for establishing the truth on this allegation and avoiding similar cases in the future. As the video was uploaded online, the investigation should not have difficulty in identifying the initial source of release. Furthermore, all persons who had facilitated in any form in the production of the video recording and its subsequent release must be punished by full severity of law.

Subjecting this issue to personal control of the Minister of Interior, Irakli Gharibashvili, is important; however, we believe that not only the Ministry of Interior, but also the entire new Georgian Government should be interested in the efficient, rapid and impartial investigation-especially when the journalist suspects the participation of high law-enforcement officials in the case. We hope that in the future nobody else suffers from blackmail based on illegal video recordings and wiretapping, carried out by the authorities.

We welcome the readiness of representatives of the legislative and executive branches of government to strengthen the guarantees of protection of private life, expressed at the April 29 conference “Civil Control to Prevent Illegal Wiretapping”. Further, we find it is crucial that the Government provides unconditional and firm support for enhancing the institute of the Inspector for the Protection of Personal Data, which will serve as another effective mechanism in respect to the protection of private life.