Georgia Cuts Access to Russian Web Sites, TV news

Reuters reports Georgian authorities have blocked most access to Russian news broadcasters and websites since the outbreak of the conflict with Moscow.

Georgia’s Interior Ministry said the action was not anti-democratic, but Russian broadcasts could not be allowed to “scare our population”.

A war over the Russian-backed breakaway region of South Ossetia has unleashed high emotion in Russia and Georgia, reflected in coverage on both state and private channels.

“People from the (Georgian) security agencies asked me to block Russian sites,” Mamia Sanadiradze, founder and CEO of the biggest Georgian internet service provider, Caucasus Online, told Reuters.

“There were threats from viruses, we faced disinformation and so on,” said Sanadiradze, whose company is seeking a listing on the London Stock Exchange. “I hope that when war is over, we will unblock these sites.”

Russian-language websites were still available on other, smaller providers.

Georgian media, private and state-owned, are generally under the sway of President Mikheil Saakashvili, who promotes his country as a Western-style democracy.

However, the country’s main opposition television station was shut by the Interior Ministry at gunpoint in November and some of its equipment was smashed up. Human rights groups have criticized Saakashvili’s approach to media freedom. Reuters has