The recently developed spying hysteria put Mamuka Ghlonti, the Head of Maestro in sarcastic spirits and after release of photo reporters accused in spying, he, equipped with bilingual posters in the center of the capital, insisted on Kotchoia’s (Merab Kolbaia) release, who has been also accused of agential activities. Mamuka Ghlonti talked with “Georgia and World” about this event, as well as about his plans with regard to continuing the battle.
– Mr. Mamuka, after release of photo reporters why have you requested release of specifically Kotchoia, who was accused in spying?
– I have requested Kotchoia’s release in order to show my colleagues – today we celebrate the victory in vain, nothing has finished, the media could achieve much more, but I thinks that we have stopped on the half way.
– Do you think that the battle of journalists will not continue?
– I am sure it will not continue or they may remain active for some period and then become quiet again, since I think that our society is still not ready to bring such an important case to the end.
I would like to recall June 15, when journalist were beaten in Dighomi, the whole press was agitated, the case was passed over to the court, but then they apologized and promised to return destroyed cameras and punish the guilty. Does anyone from media remember this?
– You say that the journalists will keep silent again and forget about this case. Are not you going to give your colleagues an example?
– I have appealed to the media for unification, and arranged “Kotchoia’s Action” and made an appeal: “Freedom to Kotchoia!” I will do something in future as well, but what can I achieve myself? It will be good if media will get united, in order to become more organized, but should be unification of organizational type and not personal, since these types of unifications have been created a lot without bringing any result.
– You said that media celebrated the victory in vain. Today there are many discussions whether release of photo reporters was a success of journalists and the whole Georgian society …
– Of course it was our victory, since we released these people from prisons and managed that the World realized what the truth is. But I think, it will be better to continue our battle.
I say such thing: the media wounded a bear, but did not kill it. An angry, wounded bear will tear up and destroy many others. The media did not find in itself enough consciousness to kill a bear.
– Consciousness or, may be, strength?
– Consciousness. Media has a serious strength. The part of journalists enjoy self-satisfaction, the other part continues working on other topics and I think that the majority of these people simply do not realize that tomorrow the same will happen to themselves, but at thas stage the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be much more prepared and will not make such stupid mistakes any more. And then they will have problems with release of the arrested colleagues/“agents”.
– The information was spread out that photo reporters accused in spying cooperated with the investigation and provided them with information about other spies as well. The society has a fear that the series of arrest may continue. Are not you afraid that you may get arrested for supporting Kotchoia?
– Such threat has been existing for a long time. I am used to the fact that I may get arrested under some motive, including supporting agents, or any other reason. Any employee of Maestro has been under such threat for several years.
– Do you think that a serious threat of arresting the journalists exist today?
– Of course, such threat exist. As you saw, four photo reporters were arrested in one day and then they showed us foolish things on TV in order to prove that they were spies. May be the authorities consider us as narrow-minded, but now they will get prepared well for future. The will make such a story that will deceive people may be not in Georgian, but for sure in the West. Until these authorities are in the power, the threat of arresting the journalists will always exist.
– Photo reporters were released. The purpose is half achieved. How the media should act now, what the journalists shall do?
– The journalists shall not leave the Ministry of Internal Affairs alone, until it will not present at least one evidence of spying by photo reporters and will not arrest other spies in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well.
– Why were you skeptical towards the meeting of journalists with Vano Merabishvili, the Minister of Internal Affairs?
– Those journalists who met with the Minister are quite respectful people for me. They have been criticized because they could show more principle stand and, besides, they should have required to open the meeting to public.
– “Testimonies” of the journalists have appeared these days in social networks. What you would have testified?
– I have an idea of memorandum. The journalists shall appeal to the society and write such text in advance: As soon as I am arrested, I will admit everything, but please do not believe it! I would have acted the same way and would have “admitted” everything they would request – starting from being a spy of Japan, finished with organizing an explosion in Kairo. Since neither admission, nor non-admission would make any sense.
Interview by Shorena Tsivkarashvili