Monthly Archives: November 2005

05TBILISI2937, GEORGIAN TV CREWS COVER KATRINA IN LOUISIANNA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05TBILISI2937 2005-11-10 03:24 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS TBILISI 002937 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/PPD - JBASEDOW; EUR/PPD - VWALKER; PACE - 
GFRANKLIN 
 
E.O.12958: N/A 
TAGS: KPAO OPRC OIIP
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN TV CREWS COVER KATRINA IN LOUISIANNA 
 
 
1. SUMMARY: Georgian media gave intensive coverage to 
Hurricane Katrina in prime time newscasts and lead newspaper 
stories. However, the coverage was based on   international 
wire and news agency reports, such as AP and Reuters.  The 
exceptions were Rustavi-2 and Imedi TV. Both television 
stations sent special, top-flight crews to New Orleans. 
Rustavi-2's David Nikuradze and Imedi's Dachi Grezelishvili 
reported live from the disaster zone the week of September 
19. On September 25, the television stations aired stories 
prepared by David and Dachi on widely-watched prime time 
Sunday night shows: Sunday Courier (Rustavi-2) and Droeba 
(Imedi). Both reports, as well as the crews' collective 
coverage of the hurricane, were full of compassion and 
understanding.  Individual interviews with victims put a 
human face on the Hurricane's devastation and left Georgian 
viewers saddened. At the same time, victims' stamina and 
determination to rebuild New Orleans were encouraging. Both 
reporters thanked the Joint Information Center for Hurricane 
Katrina in Baton Rouge, as well as the Embassy's Public 
Affairs Section for supporting them in their coverage of 
hurricane-affected Louisiana. End Summary. 
 
2. Rustavi-2: On September 25, Rustavi-2's weekly analytical 
show Sunday Courier featured David Nikuradze's story shot in 
Louisiana. The piece used graphics prepared by FEMA to show 
Katrina's trajectory and how the storm crossed the most 
densely populated areas. "As the rescuers say, Katrina, as 
if on purpose, circumvented nonresidential areas to storm 
the places where people lived," said David. He interviewed 
rescuers working in New Orleans to give a full picture of 
the disaster.  After giving background on New Orleans, its 
jazz traditions and economic significance for the country, 
David focused on future rehabilitation plans: "Post Katrina 
New Orleans is in great need of rehabilitation that will 
take a lot of time and resources.  However, nothing can 
compensate for the incurred loss.  People find it hard to 
understand what has caused such a great deal of casualties. 
.People of Louisiana are wondering why the American system 
failed to handle this tragedy." He also gave credit to the 
performance of FEMA and rescue workers: "American soldiers 
are protecting these areas by blocking access to the flooded 
houses.  They are also trying to save the city from 
looting."  David Nikuradze expressed his appreciation for 
the Joint Information Center for Hurricane Katrina in Baton 
Rouge for supporting his work. 
 
3. Imedi:  On September 25, Imedi's weekly analytical Sunday 
night show "Droeba' (Times) aired Dachi Grdzelishvili's 
piece on Hurricane Katrina. Dachi compared the post - 
hurricane scene of New Orleans to that of a horror movie. 
Following a comprehensive account of the city's history, 
Dachi concluded by saying: "Despite the general pessimism, 
there are people in Louisiana who do not give up on living 
in New Orleans.  After the sea level subsided, some people 
started to fix their houses and started thinking of ways to 
run their businesses again. .Unfortunately, Hurricane Rita 
did not leave much hope for optimism. The dam collapsed and 
the city was flooded once again.  People in America now talk 
openly about the inexpediency of building cities on the 
ocean coasts below sea level.  When people refuse to learn 
from the books, nature gives its own lessons." 
 
4. Dachi Grdzelishvili sent a letter of appreciation to Post 
for assisting him with his trip. An excerpt from the letter: 
"The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi 
put us in touch with Gregory Franklin, Senior Advisor for TV 
broadcast at the U.S. Department of State, currently acting 
as media coordinator at the Joint Information Center for 
Hurricane Katrina.  It was a nice surprise for us that Mr. 
Franklin came to see us at the airport. From there, he 
escorted us to all of our shoots.  .On behalf of the Imedi 
crew and the entire Imedi operation, I would like to thank 
the Department of State, personally Mr. Franklin, and the 
U.S. Embassy for the support they've provided." 
 
TEFFT

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05TBILISI2897, DECLARATION OF THE COUNTRIES OF THE COMMUNITY OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05TBILISI2897 2005-11-07 12:14 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002897 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT:  DECLARATION OF THE COUNTRIES OF THE COMMUNITY OF 
DEMOCRATIC CHOICE 
 
On November 2, Post received a copy of the draft Declaration 
of the Countries of the Community of Democratic Choice. 
 
Start text: 
 
DECLARATION OF THE COUNTRIES OF THE COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRATIC 
CHOICE 
 
(Kyiv, Ukraine, December 2nd, 2005) 
 
We, the countries of the Baltic-Black-Caspian Sea region, 
 
Expressing our adherence to the purposes and principles set 
forth in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal 
Declaration of Human Rights, 
 
Devoted to the ideals and values of democracy and Human 
Rights, 
 
Having taken responsibility of respecting, promoting and 
strengthening the core democratic principles and practices 
set forth in the Final Warsaw Declaration: Towards a 
Community of Democracies, 
 
Consistently caring about the implementation of Seoul Action 
Plan of the Community of Democracies, in particular in the 
sphere of regional cooperation, 
 
Welcoming the creation of UN Democracy Fund, 
 
Stressing on the unbreakable interdependence between peace, 
stability and development, and respect for ideals of 
democracy and the Human Rights, 
 
Calling for respect of all human rights - civil, cultural, 
economic, political and social, and their maintenance and 
promotion according to the International documents on Human 
Rights, 
 
Feeling common responsibility for the future and further 
development of democracy, and for the respect for the Human 
Rights in the Baltic-Black-Caspian Sea region, 
 
Striving to see Europe without dividing lines, conflicts, or 
any spirit of confrontation, as stated in the "Borjomi 
Declaration" of the Presidents of Georgia and Ukraine. 
 
Hereby declare the creation of the Community of Democratic 
Choice as a governmental and non-governmental forum of 
cooperation for dialogue of Leaders and representatives of 
non-governmental organizations of our countries, which, 
within the Community, proclaim their intention: 
 
-- to cooperate closely towards achieving a common goal of 
establishing lasting peace, democracy and prosperity in this 
part of Europe; 
 
-- to cooperate for the sake of development and 
strengthening of democracy, recognizing that different 
countries and societies within the region of attention of 
the Community of Democratic Choice are at different stages 
of democratic development; 
 
-- to provide support to promotion of human values and 
standards in order to, respectively, promoting and 
establishing democratic processes and institutions, and 
encouraging to exchange experience on the way to 
strengthening democracy and the respect for Human Rights; 
 
-- to assist in developing liaisons between our governments 
and societies in different spheres, including the education 
for democracy; 
 
-- to cooperate with institutions and international 
organizations, civil society and governments in coordinating 
support to new and emerging democratic societies; 
-- to provide support for the further economic and social 
development, including poverty eradication, as a main 
impeding factor for development and protecting of a 
democratic process; 
 
-- to encourage the respect for democracy and human rights 
to face threats for democratic development of society, which 
are, among others, corruption, organized crime, money 
laundering, terrorism in different forms and ways, existence 
of uncontrolled territories "black holes" in Europe, drug 
trafficking, illegal arms trafficking and trafficking in 
human beings; 
 
-- showing an example of respect for democracy and human 
rights in their respective countries to push political 
leaders of the countries on the way to democracy to 
encourage tolerance and consent to promote respect for 
pluralism, to counteract ethnic and religious hatred, 
violence and other forms of extremism, to encourage the 
development of civil society, non-governmental organizations 
and independent mass-media; 
 
-- to cooperate in all issues related to encouraging the 
development of a vibrant and stronger democracy, thus 
strengthening the format of the Community of Democratic 
Choice; 
 
Proclaiming this declaration, the countries of the Baltic- 
Black-Caspian Sea region declare that the Community of 
Democratic Choice is an answer to the natural desire of 
States and Societies, of every new generation and human 
being to reach higher standards of civilized development. 
 
We are convinced that the high message of the Community of 
Democratic Choice should ensemble all countries of the 
region in a single bid for democracy and the promotion of 
human rights, and declare that we will continue our exchange 
of ideas on democratic transformations particularly in 
Bucharest in March 2006 at the next, the second Forum of the 
Community of Democratic Choice. 
 
Kyiv, Ukraine, December 2nd, 2005 
 
End Text. 
 
Tefft

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05TBILISI2889, GEORGIA IN RECENT SURVEYS: GOOD NEWS ON PACE OF

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To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05TBILISI2889 2005-11-07 12:05 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002889 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV ECON GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA IN RECENT SURVEYS: GOOD NEWS ON PACE OF 
REFORMS, MIXED REVIEWS ON MEDIA FREEDOM 
 
1.   Summary: Annual surveys on media freedom, anti- 
corruption, poverty reduction, and the general pace of 
reforms show Georgia doing well compared to other post-Soviet 
nations but behind former Warsaw-Pact and Baltic nations 
whose reform experiences the GOG is eager to emulate. 
Georgia is a top performer in the region on the general pace 
of reforms but still struggles with poverty and corruption. 
Although Georgia scores higher on media freedom than most 
other post-Soviet countries, it has been on a downward trend 
since the Rose Revolution.  End summary. 
 
------------- 
Media Freedom 
------------- 
 
2.   According to the 2005 worldwide Media Freedom Index 
released by the media-freedom watchdog Reporters Without 
Borders, Georgia ranks 99 out of 167 countries in terms of 
media freedom.  This ranking is part of a downward trend in 
which Georgia has dropped 26 spaces from being ranked 73 in 
2003, in the era of former President Shevardnadze.  Although 
Georgia is the second highest ranked CIS country behind 
Moldova (74), Georgia is very far behind former Warsaw-Pact 
nations such as Poland (53) and Slovakia (8), and the Baltic 
Nations of Estonia (11), Latvia (16), and Lithuania (21), 
whose reform experiences the GOG is eager to emulate. 
 
---------- 
Corruption 
---------- 
 
3.   Georgia is ranked as 130 out of 159 countries in 
Transparency International's 2005 Corruption Perception Index 
(CPI). Georgia is tied with Kyrgyzstan.  In comparison, 
Turkey is ranked at 65; Armenia, Moldova, Iran are tied for 
88; Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine are tied for 107; Russia 
is ranked 126; Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan are tied for 137; 
Tajikistan is ranked 144 and Turkmenistan is 155.  Although 
Georgia performs well in the CIS, it is still behind Poland 
(70), Latvia (51), and Lithuania (44). 
 
------- 
Poverty 
------- 
 
4.   The World Bank recently released its report on Growth, 
Poverty, and Inequality in Eastern Europe and the Former 
Soviet Union, analyzing the impact of economic growth from 
1998-2003.   The report is based on household consumption 
surveys and builds comparable indicators of living standards 
across the 27 countries of Eastern Europe and the former 
Soviet Union.  The report indicates that poverty has been 
reduced overall in the region from 20 percent to 12 percent, 
however, experts say Georgia has lagged behind due to 
"jobless growth." Georgia had a poverty level of 50% in 
2003.  Russia and Kazakhstan witnessed shifts in the 
distribution of income towards the poor, thus decreasing 
poverty levels.  In Georgia, poverty actually rose.  Most 
economic activity during the given period was related to 
investment in the BTC pipeline, which did not trigger 
significant job-creating growth. 
 
5.   The authors of the World Bank report indicated that in 
Georgia fiscal income was not distributed in favor of the 
poor population.  They called for an increase of pensions 
and social assistance, stimulation of the investments and 
support for the private sector.  Investments were 
implemented only on the account of privatization, while new 
owners have consistently reduced jobs. 
 
--------------- 
Pace of Reforms 
--------------- 
 
6.   In September 2005, the International Financial 
Corporation (IFC) published its annual report, which 
provides a global ranking of 155 economies on key business 
regulations and reforms.  The report tracks a set of 
regulatory indicators related to business startup, 
operation, trade, payment of taxes, and closure by measuring 
the time and cost associated with various government 
requirements.  Georgia was the top reformer in the region 
and the number 2 reformer globally--making it easier to 
start a business, cutting the number of activities licensed 
from 909 to 159, easing the cost of firing redundant 
workers, cutting the time and cost to register property, and 
introducing a new tax law with fewer and simplified taxes. 
 
7.   Although Georgia was a top reformer, by economic 
indicators its current rank at 100 of 155 countries suggests 
that it is has room for further improvement.  Looking at 
Georgia's ranking in particular areas, IFC finds several 
obstacles to obtaining licenses, as the new legislation has 
just been passed and not yet implemented.   Another 
indicator where Georgia falls short is in credit 
information, leading to less access to affordable credit. 
Georgia scores particularly badly in indicators tracking 
trading across borders, with relatively more time needed to 
export or import goods than its neighbors and three times 
the regional average for signatures needed to import and 
export.  Finally, Georgia scores relatively poorly on the 
Corporate Governance indicator which includes the 
accountability of directors, the disclosure of information, 
and the ease of shareholder suits. 
TEFFT

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