Three weeks ago, the Georgian investigative journalist Vakhtang Komakhidze requested asylum in Switzerland. Komakhidze worked for the Reportiori studio, which has been responsible for several government-critical documentaries. One documentary revealed that the attack on two buses in the village of Khurcha on the day of the 28 May 2008 parliamentary election had been staged by the government, which had itself accused Abkhazian forces. Another documentary questioned the official account of the death of Zurab Zhvania.
Komakhidze has said that he has come under severe government pressure following his visits to Tskhinval for a documentary about the August 2008 war. To the extend that they are true, the findings of Komakhidze and his colleagues are a disgrace for the Georgian authorities. But the fact is that in many neighbouring countries, they wouldn’t have been able to do their work in the first place, and this speaks in Georgia’s favour. That is what makes this recent development so very sad. It can only be hoped that he will be able to return, and in the meantime, that he is able to finish his documentary.