On October 17, Leila Tsinadze-Melikidze, supporter of the ruling Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia party, released a post on Facebook page “კახა კალაძე - თბილისის მერი” (Kakha Kaladze – Tbilisi Mayor), according to which Eka Gigauri, Head of Transparency International Georgia, is against pension increase. The post involves Gigauri’s photo and a caption reading “If you increase pensions, pensioners will then demand something else.” GD lawmaker Karlo Kopaliani shared the post on his own Facebook page with a caption “This is the face of some non-governmental organizations that are taking care of public welfare!” Kote Inashvili, journalist of Obieqtivi TV, spread the post in various Facebook groups (“ბიძინა ივანიშვილის მეგობრები ფეისბუკზე” (Bidzina Ivanishvili’s friends on Facebook), “ქვეყნის მტრების წინააღმდეგ” (Against the country’s enemies). Facebook users wrote negative and insulting comments under each post and the image.
The post released by Leila Tsinadze-Melikidze is fake and the mentioned quotation does not belong to Eka Gigauri. In fact, MP Akaki Zoidze’s interpretation of TI Georgia’s recommendations regarding limited use of administrative resources in a pre-election period was attributed to Eka Gigauri.
On October 17, Transparency International Georgia released its assessments and recommendations about the 2020 draft state budget. According to one of its recommendations, the government has to refrain from increasing pensions and salaries of public employees during several months prior to elections, because such actions will be perceived as the use of administrative resources in a pre-election period. MP Akaki Zoidze, who chairs the Parliament’s Healthcare and Social Issues Committee, misinterpreted TI Georgia’s recommendation, describing it as a prohibition:
Akaki Zoidze: “Do not dare to increase pensions and salaries until elections are held – this is their recommendation. Let’s ask pensioners and low-income people, whose salaries are expected to increase.”
Head of Transparency International Georgia, Eka Gigauri responded to Leila Tsinadze-Melikidze’s fake post through her Facebook page:
Beso Namchavadze of TI Georgia commented on Akaki Zoidze’s manipulative assessment through his Facebook post.
Leila Tsinadze – Melikidze is an active supporter of the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia party; she actively supports each initiative or decision made by Bidzina Ivanishvili’s team. In addition, some of her posts are directed towards discrediting the opposition.
After verifying her identity in CEC’s voter lists, we found out that Leila Tsinadze-Melikidze is a real person and her account is not fake.
Prepared by Ani Kistauri
Regional Network of Media Literacy Lab