Public Defender's Statement on Dismissed Pregnant Woman’s Case
The Public Defender is responding to the information released by Kakheti Information Center on September 9, 2015, according to which, Ana Akhalauri, the 8-month pregnant woman dismissed from the Akhmeta municipality administration, stated that the Public Defender had not taken any interest in her case.
The mentioned information is not true and the Public Defender expresses concern about the release of unverified information by Kakheti Information Center.
The Public Defender started survey of the case on his own initiative as soon as information about Ana Akhalauri’s dismissal was spread. On 18 August 2015 a representative of the Kakheti regional office contacted Akhalauri and received detailed information from her, on basis of which a relevant report was drafted. At the same time, a letter was sent to the Akhmeta Governor for obtaining additional information on August 19.
On 11 September 2015 the Public Defender held a meeting with the Akhmeta Governor, where one of the topics of conversation was Akhalauri’s dismissal. The Public Defender received detailed information about the circumstances of the case personally from the Governor.
After publication of the article by Kakheti Information Center on September 9, the Public Defender's representative contacted Anna Akhalauri, who said that many organizations had called her and she could not remember if she had talked to anyone from the Public Defender's Office.
It should be noted that Akhalauri’s statement does not exempt the journalist from the obligation to verify information in order to prevent dissemination of incorrect information, something done by Kakheti Information Center.
Moreover, the article published by Kakheti Information Center contained another misinformation, according to which, they could not reach the Public Defender's Office, whereas office contact phones are constantly available and calls are received by office consultants during working hours. In addition, at 13:19, September 9, a representative of the Public Relations Department of the Public Defender's Office called Gela Mtivlishvili, the head of Kakheti Information Center, after seeing a missed call from him at 13:00. Mtivlishvili said that the issue over which he was trying to contact the Public Defender's Office was no longer important to him. Following this conversation, Kakheti Information Center published the article on its website at 13:26.
The above-mentioned facts, unfortunately, disclose the journalist’s dishonest attitude towards his professional activity.
According to article 1 of the Charter of Journalistic Ethics, journalists must respect the truth as well as the right of society to get correct information, while, according to article 5, the media shall correct the essentially incorrect information which misleads the public.
The Public Defender considers that dissemination of unchecked information by media organizations and journalists damages not only the trust towards state institutions, but also the persons, protection of rights of which is the core value for the Public Defender.