Port of Batumi, Adjaria. Photo of "Caucasian Knot"

02 June 2009, 21:10

Newspaper "Batumelebi" issued in Adzharia to be granted the Bucerius prize

On June 3, the independent newspaper "Batumelebi" issued in Adzharia (Georgia) is to receive the Gerd Bucerius Prize "Free Press of Eastern Europe" founded by the Norwegian foundation "Freedom of Speech" and the German foundation "ZEIT-Stiftung". The chief editor of the newspaper is already in Oslo where the award ceremony is to be held.

Starting from 2000, the foundation "ZEIT-Stiftung" awards the encouraging prize of  Gerd Bucerius "Free Press of Eastern Europe" to those journalists who support freedom of speech, press and liberal civil society in Eastern European countries in transition.

The prizes "Free Press of Russia" and "Free press of Eastern Europe" are to be granted to journalists from Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia and Georgia. Among others, the award will be granted to the weekly "Batumelebi" issued in Batumi, the capital of the Adzharia Autonomous Republic.

According to Tedo Dzhorbenadze, managing editor of "Batumelebi", Eteri Turadze, the newspaper chief editor, is now in Oslo. Tomorrow, she is due to get the prize and a bonus in the amount of 30,000 euros.

The managing editor relayed that the newspaper had been in circulation from 2001 and distributed in five districts. The main topic covered by the weekly are politics, economics and  business. The "Batumelebi" journalists also report about crimes and corruption.

"Four years ago the authorities closed our newspaper for a week. They closed it on Monday right before printing the issue. We had to re-register it", recalls Tedo Dzhorbenadze.

The managing editor states that the financial problem is one of the main ones which the weekly faces.

As regards the freedom of speech, Dzhorbenadze assesses the situation in Georgia as bad. "There are state-run media outlets, while independent media are virtually non-existent in the district. Journalists are more free in the center of the country, not here", notes our interlocutor.

Tedo Dzhorbenadze adds that now there are difficulties for journalists to obtain official information. "It is often difficult to get accreditation. There have been cases of attacks on journalists and the editor, equipment was also destroyed ", relays Dzhorbenadze.

Author: Alexander Baklanov Source: CK correspondent

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