Statement of the State Security Service of Georgia

On June 20, 2020, TV company “Mtavari Arkhi”’s programme “Shabatis Mtavari” broadcasted a news story, which, aiming at misinforming public had been based on deception. In particular, the news story suggests that allegedly, medical staff and local officials offer the family members of persons deceased due to various diseases certain sum of money (from GEL 3 000 to GEL 10 000) in exchange for naming Novel Corona Virus as a cause of death.

The persons whose comments had been broadcasted by TV company “Mtavari Arkhi’s” programme “Shabatis Mtavari” have been questioned as witnesses within the framework of a criminal investigation launched into the fact of sabotage by the State Security Department. The citizens shown in the news story, have stated during the questioning that in the news story prepared by the Tv company “Mtavari Arkhi”, their tv interviews had been cut, in particular, they told the journalist that they did not have any information on offers by medical staff and local officials to name as a cause of death  Novel Coronavirus for exchange of certain sum of money, nonetheless, TV company “Mtavari Arkhi” deliberately translated their Azerbaijani-language interviews incorrectly  and broadcasted the facts in a diametrically opposite interpretation due to which the mentioned persons expressed great discontent and demanded a legal action in relation to the fact.

Investigation has outlined that the TV company “Mtavari Arkhi” based on particular interested journalists prepared the news story which contained disinformation, according to which government officials allegedly tried to get in touch with family members of people deceased due to a natural death and offer them money, so that they state that their family member had died as a result of the virus. Through the mentioned action, TV Mtavari Arkhi would on one hand try to discredit the government and blame it in deliberate unlawful action, while on the other hand, would fuel feeling of insecurity and against the background of coronavirus pandemic, through misinforming of Georgian population would affect citizens’ mental condition, that would cause fair protest and hamper regular functioning of state authorities and organizations.

Investigation is ongoing in an intensive manner into the fact of sabotage, crime envisaged by article 318, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of Georgia and on the basis of analysis of the collected evidence decision of further legal action will be taken.

State Security Department of the State Security Service carries out the investigation.