Noble Partner Drills start in Georgia
U.S. and Georgia-led sixth Noble Partner 2022 military exercise started on 29 August at the 4th Infantry Brigade training ground in Vaziani, in south of Tbilisi.
The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) stated that Major General Giorgi Matiashvili, the Commander of the Defense Forces, congratulated the military personnel of Georgia, the U.S and NATO members, and partner countries on the start of the exercise during the opening ceremony.
“The goal of “Noble Partner 2022″ is to increase the readiness and interoperability between Georgia, the USA, regional partners and allied countries to ensure a stable and safe environment in the Black Sea region,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
This is the first year that representatives of the Japanese and Swedish armed forces are taking part. In total, more than 2,400 military personnel are involved in the exercise from 18 countries, and 1 multinational brigade, including Georgia, the U.S., Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Great Britain, Japan, Sweden, and others.
Communications Commission fined Mtavari Arkhi
The Georgian National Communications Commission satisfied the complaint filed by the ruling Georgian Dream party against three opposition TV stations – Mtavari Arkhi TV, Formula, and TV Pirveli – for airing a clip of “Home to Europe” by fining Mtavari Arkhi TV with GEL 118,688.67 (USD 42,319.85) and issuing a written warning to another two.
The Commission ruled to issue only a verbal warning to Formula and TV Pirveli on the grounds that they did not have a similar violation last year, while Mtavari Arkhi TV violated the law for the second time during this period. Additionally, according to the Commission’s explanation, Mtavari Arkhi TV had been accused 4 times of the same violation between 2019-2021.
The Commission considered the video clip aired by the TV stations to be a political advertisement and explained that by airing it during a non-election period they violated the law. “The broadcaster is limited in placing pre-election/political advertisements if there is no pre-election campaign. Pre-election/political advertisement placement on a broadcaster’s channel is prohibited until 50 days before the election.”
Thus, according to its assessment, the video clip spreads information about leaders of the Georgian Dream, which is intended for an indefinite circle of people and “serves to form a negative opinion towards this political party and its members and prevent their election.”
Giorgi Gabunia, acting director of Mtavari Arkhi TV, announced after the decision that they do not plan to pay the imposed fine and will appeal the Commission’s decision in Court. “We were fined for a pro-Europe clip, which doesn’t surprise me. Moreover, they would not miss this chance to make our already difficult financial situation even worse,” Giorgi Gabunia said. He added, “we have also heard direct threats, [that] if we continue like this and another pro-European clip gets on our airwaves, our license may be revoked, this will not surprise me either.”
The Media Advocacy Coalition stated on 23 August that the Communication Commission’s decision is “unfounded and significantly worsens the media environment in Georgia.” They further emphasized that the decision against the three opposition TV stations “is of a political nature and is not based on legal grounds.”
President Zurabishvili addressed Crimea Platform Summit
President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili addressed the second summit of the Crimea Platform on 23 August and reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s “territorial integrity, sovereignty, and de-occupation strategy.”
“Crimea is Ukraine,” she highlighted and added that “it is a great honor for me today to be representing Georgia and its people at this summit for it is essential to stand together in defense of the values that unite us and which I am confident will shape our common future.”
The President highlighted that Ukraine would celebrate its independence next day and mark “six months of its valorous resistance to Russian aggression.”
The President stressed that Georgia is all too familiar with the effects of the “Kremlin’s aggression against its peaceful neighbors” which it experienced in 1921, 1992, and 2008.
“We understand only too well the price your soldiers and your whole civilian populations have paid and are paying,” she said.
On behalf of the Georgian people, President Zurabishvili reaffirmed Georgia’s admiration for Ukraine’s struggle and its belief that “this fight will end in victory…”
“I am confident that we will witness our nations regaining unity, territorial integrity, and prosperity in a peaceful and safe Europe,” President Zurabishvili concluded. “Happy Independence Day, Slava Ukraine.”