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S.Ossetia Calls on Tbilisi to Stop 'Information War'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 14 Jan.'06 / 17:49

The South Ossetian authorities announced on January 14 that a “dirty information campaign” carried out by the Georgian special services “to discredit South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity” proves the unwillingness of the Georgian side “to hold a constructive dialogue on peaceful resolution of the conflict” and accused the Georgian side of an attempt “to destabilize the situation in South Ossetia against the background of Presidential elections [in South Ossetian], scheduled for November, 2006.”

The statement issued by a joint press service of the President and the Government of unrecognized republic on January 14 stresses that Alania TV is engaged in “a black PR campaign” against South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity.

Alania TV started to broadcast in South Ossetia in November, 2005. The television station broadcasts in the Russian language and consists of mainly movies and music videos, but news programs about arts and culture in Georgia are also aired. The station has offered no political news so far.

Once a week the television broadcasts a prime time animated series featuring characters parodying both Georgian and Ossetian politicians, including the Ossetian and Georgian chief negotiators - Boris Chochiev and Giorgi Khaindrava, respectively - as well as South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity and Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili.

The owners or financial sources behind the television station remain unknown, but the television station is reportedly backed by official Tbilisi.

On January 11 the TV was silenced in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali – one day after the station announced plans to broadcast “compromising stories” about several South Ossetian officials, Eduard Kokoity specifically.

“Against the background of persisting interference [by the Georgian authorities] into the internal political and public affairs of South Ossetia - aiming at discrediting the South Ossetian leadership and at splitting the society - the authorities of South Ossetia reserve the right to publicize cases of corruption, immoral behaviour and criminality persisting among 'the Rose Revolutionaries'… in case this information war [against South Ossetia] continues,” reads the statement by the South Ossetian authorities.

The leadership of the unrecognized republic also warned that it will stop airing all Georgian television stations on the territory of South Ossetia, as well as will ban the circulation of Georgian newspapers in the breakaway region.

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