Statements

22.07.2021

On July 20, 2021, Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze compared the activities of the media to the actions of violent groups.

We have repeatedly expressed concern over the aggressive rhetoric of politicians, which creates an unsuitable environment in Georgia for the free work of media organizations and journalists. This has a negative impact on the safety of journalists. It was the statements of the Ruling Party that encouraged the violent actions against 53 members of the media on July 5.

The Charter urges the representatives of the authorities to refrain from encouraging the attacks on members of the media with their aggressive attitudes and to stop talking about restrictive norms of freedom of thought, speech and expression, to support media freedom and to switch to a business relations.

12.07.2021

Cases of violation of the rights of media representatives in Georgia have reached a critical level. Dozens of cases against the media are still uninvestigated. Dozens of cases against the media are not still investigated. The authorities fail to ensure the safety of journalists, while the statements by the officials of the ruling party encourage the violence even more.

On July 5, 2021, during a demonstration against the "March of Dignity", members of a violent group deliberately attacked the media representatives, subjected them to physical and verbal abuse, and deliberately destroyed their equipment to obstruct their journalistic activities.

Despite the preliminary calls from the civil sector, the state has not taken appropriate measures to protect the media representatives. Insufficient police forces did not take measures to protect the journalists. Moreover, on July 5, before the start of the government session, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, laid the responsibility not upon the members of the demonstration but the organizers of the "March of Dignity" for the possible complication of the situation and called them not to hold the march on Rustaveli Avenue.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, on July 5, 53 members of the media were injured, including the operator of TV Pirveli - Aleksandre Lashkarava, who was severely beaten by violent groups on July 5. Aleksandre Lashkarava died on July 11.

Part of the media representatives still remains in the hospital. Members of various violent groups continue to openly threaten journalists and cameramen, to which the law enforcement agencies do not respond accordingly. The organizers of the violent demonstration of July 5, whose identities are not known, have not been arrested either.

It should be noted that most of the facts of the attacks on journalists, obstruction of media activities, and violence that happened in the past have not been investigated so far and the issue of responsibility of the organizers of the violent groups has not been outlined.

We appeal to the representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations accredited in Georgia to respond immediately and effectively to the purposive persecution of media representatives on Rustaveli Avenue on July 5, the facts of damage to health, obstruction of professional duties, and inaction of the Georgian government.


Signatories:

1.     Mtavari TV

2.     TV Formula

3.     Rustavi 2

4.     Tabula

5.     Imedi TV

6.     Kavkasia TV

7.     The Charter of Journalistic Ethics

8.     Adjara Public Broadcaster and Radio

9.     Georgian Public Broadcaster

10.  TV Pirveli

11.  Express News

12.  FaxInterNews

13.  Artarea TV

14.  Studio Monitor

15.  Georgian Times Radio

16.  Fact Check

17.  Radio Green Wave

18.  AT.ge

19.  Media Development Foundation

20.  Border Zone

21.  NNLE Media and Communication Educational and Research Center

22.  Radio Voice of Abkhazia

23.  Radio Dardimandi

24.  Alternative Professional Union of Adjara Public Broadcaster

25.  Media Holding Hereti: Radio Hereti FM102.8, Radio Tbilisi FM93.5

26.  Radio Citrus FM97.3

27.  Radio Dzveli Kalaki

28.  Georgian Regional Radio Network

29.  TV Company New

30.  OC Media

31.  TOK TV

32.  Radio Holding Fortuna

33.  SOVA

34.  Batumelebi

35.  Newsreport

36.  On.ge

37.  Netgazeti

38.  InterPressNews.ge

39.  Blog SocReactive

40.  TSpress.ge

41.  Radio Atinati

42.  Metronome.ge

43.  Publika

44.  Civil.ge

45.  Internews-Georgia

46.  Media.ge

47.  Openrustavi.ge

48.  Palitranews

49.  Radio Palitra

50.  Radio Marneuli

51.  Euronews Georgia

52.  FirstNews.ge

53.  Kutaisi Today

54.  Speqtri.ge

55.  Cnews

56.  Media Holding "Qronika +"

57.  Droa.ge

58.  Accentnews.ge

59.  Popmusic.ge

60.  Popsport.com

61.  Gurianews.ge

62.  Eco-Fact

63.  Media rights

64.  Journalism Resource Center

65.  Agrogaremo TV

66.  Alliance of Regional Broadcasters

67.  Radio Imedi

68.  Commersant

69.  JAMNews

70.  Reginfo.ge

71.  DailyInfo.ge

72.  News Agency Front News

73.  Front News International Kiev Office

74.  ifact.ge

75.  ipress.ge

76.  TV 25

77.  Guria TV

78.  Metskhre talgha

79.  okribanews

80.  newpost

81.  pia.ge

82.  digest.ge

83.  funtime.ge

84.  tbiliselebi.ge

85.  exclusivetv.ge

86.  GHN

87.  geodigest.ge

88.  Europetime.eu

89.  Odishi TV

90.  Guria Moambe

91.  Dianews

92.  report.ge

93.  AliQ Media

94.  Ambebi.ge

95.  Info Rustavi

96.  Mega TV

97.  DiaNews

98.  Radio Mosaic

99.  TV Dia

100. NewPress.ge

101. Timerge

102. Radio WW

103. Chemi Kharagauli

104. QvemoQartli.ge

105. Sknews.ge

106. Livepress



Photo Credit - Mediachecker.ge

11.07.2021

Aleksandre Lashkarava, the cameraman of TV Pirveli, died today, on July 11. He was one of the journalists injured during the events of July 5th. He was attacked in a group during the raid on the office of the movement "Shame". Aleksandre Lashkarava had severe injuries to his face and head. On July 5, more than 50 members of the media were injured in attacks on journalists by the violent groups on Rustaveli Avenue, several among them were injured severely.

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics believes that the authorities have not taken appropriate measures to prevent the violence, and in some cases, statements by high-ranking government officials have even encouraged the activities of the violent groups.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs failed to protect the journalists from physical violence on July 5, it could not ensure the safe operation of the media as well. Most of the facts of attacks on journalists, obstruction of media activities, and violence have not been investigated so far, and the responsibility of the organizers of the violent groups has not been outlined.

The violent groups continue to use hate speech in an organized manner with the media, which encourages violence. We require the following:

• Authorities shall take immediate steps to end organized violence against the media;
• Not only the participants of the violent action but also the organizers shall be punished;
• To respond effectively to all facts of organized media attacks;
• To start investigating messages containing threatening performed towards the media;
• Authorities shall immediately stop speaking hate speech to the media, follow the law, and protect the journalists;
• To bring up the issue of the political responsibility of the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Prime Minister.
09.07.2021

The cases of violation of journalists' rights in Georgia have reached a critical point. Hereby, we reiterate that the government has failed to guarantee the safety and security of media representatives as earlier attacks on journalists went largely unpunished.

On July 5 - 6, 2021, dozens of journalists and cameramen became the subject of large-scale violence. On a day when the March for Dignity, organized by Tbilisi Pride, was supposed to take place in Tbilisi, violent groups targeted media representatives, inflicted physical injuries and verbal abuse, and deliberately smashed their equipment to obstruct coverage.

Despite earlier warnings from the civil sector, the authorities did not take relevant measures to ensure the safety of the organizers of the March for Dignity or the media. The acts of violence were broadcast live. It was obvious that the insufficient police force was acting passively and failed to restore the order in the streets.

On July 5, prior to the cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, put the responsibility for the possible aggravation of the situation not on the counter-protesters, but on the organizers of the Tbilisi Pride, and called them not to hold the march on Rustaveli Avenue. During violent attacks, the only protection mechanism applied by the Ministry of Interior was withdrawing the journalists from the coverage scene.

The attacks against the media continued on July 6, 2021, in the course of the solidarity rally in Tbilisi, when the violent groups attempted to disrupt the live broadcast of Formula TV.

According to the official information, a total of 53 representatives of more than 10 media outlets were injured. Some of them were admitted to the hospitals with severe injuries and are under medical care up to date.

In response to the multiple acts of violence, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has detained only 12 individuals under the charges of illegal interference with journalistic activities, while the journalists were able to identify more attackers in the available video footage.

In the light of the unprecedented scale of violence against the media and in order to protect freedom of speech and expression and other fundamental rights in the country, we appeal to the Government of Georgia:

  • To conduct a prompt and efficient investigation into the cases of violence against the media representatives injured on July 5 - 6, 2021, as well as to bring the perpetrators to justice
  • To cease using hate speech against the media and openly support the freedom of journalists to carry out professional duties

We appeal to the Parliament of Georgia:

  • To hold an ad-hock hearing of July 5-6 events in the Parliament, and to evaluate the efficiency of the steps taken by the government to protect the citizens
  • To condemn the calls and acts of violence
  • To issue the statements in favor of freedom of expression and openly support the freedom of journalists to carry out professional duties.

Signatories:

Alliance of Regional Broadcasters - AB

Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics

Georgian Democracy Initiative - GDI

Georgian Regional Media Association - GRMA

Georgian Young Lawyers` Association - GYLA

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

Institute for Development of Freedom of Information -IDFI

Liberal Academy Tbilisi

Media Club

Media Development Foundation

Media Rights

Open Society Foundation OSGF

Rights Georgia

Small and Medium Telecommunication Operators Association of Georgia

Transparency International Georgia

TV network

05.07.2021


According to the reports, the violent groups on Rustaveli Avenue physically and verbally abuse the journalists. Media outlets report that members of the violent group attack journalists, swear and force them to leave the area. 



  • According to "TV Pirveli", the equipment belonging to the broadcaster was damaged;
  • According to "Formula TV", Guga Dvalishvili, a journalist of the Public Broadcaster, was deprived of a microphone and thrown out of his hands, and the cameraman was physically abused;
  • Giorgi Gabunia and Lekso Khomasuridze - another crew of "Formula TV" was beaten;
  • The sticks were thrown to the "Rustavi 2" journalists;
  • Mako Jabua, a journalist of "Tabula" wearing a T-shirt with the caption "Press", was attacked and beaten with the cudgel at her head;
  • Luka Pertaia, a journalist of "Netgazeti" was verbally abused;
  • Tamta Kakhaberidze - a journalist of "On.ge" was attacked;
  • According to "Palitra News", their media operator was beaten, he had injuries on his face. Also, the equipment belonging to the broadcaster was damaged;
  • According to TV "Imedi", the protesters physically confronted their journalist and cameraman;
  • Two journalists from "Radio Liberty" were injured; 
  • According to the "First Channel", their cameraman Ilia Tvaliashvili was injured;
  • Alexander Lashkarava, the cameraman of "TV Pirveli", was beaten and his equipment was broken;
  • According to the Adjara Public Broadcaster, their journalists was attacked by radical citizens. Journalist Tiko Susareishvili was injured;
  • "Mtavari Channel" journalists Dea Mamiseishvili, Irakli Bakhtadze, Nino Gazdeliani, Datuna Akhaladze, Anri Jokharidze, Keta Tsitskishvili and Tornike Barnabishvili were injured;
  • According to "Guria News", their journalist Merab Tsaava was confronted at the rally;
  • Journalists of TV "Rustavi 2" Mariam Kumsishvili, Marika Gotsiridze, Giorgi Pertia, Salome Bokuchava, Zura Managadze, Beka Atabegashvili, Nikoloz Urushadze and Shota Sikinchalashvili were injured;
  • "Interpressnews" photo correspondent Giorgi Nikolishvili is injured;
  • Formula TV journalists Nino Vardzelashvili, Rati Tsverava, Luka Khachidze, cameramen Levan Bregvadze, Nikoloz Kaliashvili, Zaza Kapanadze, Giorgi Maisashvili, photographer Vakho Kareli were injured.

According to our information, about 40 journalists and cameramen were injured. A list of them can be found here. (a list may be updated)

The Charter urges the Ministry of Internal Affairs to protect media representatives from illegal interference and violence in their journalistic activities.

The Charter of Journalistic Ethics urges the government to protect the safety of journalists and create appropriate working conditions for the media in the course of their professional activities so that citizens have the opportunity to receive information about the current processes.

The Charter of Journalistic Ethics will always protect the rights of journalists and the high standard of freedom of expression.

09.11.2020
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics considers that the Georgian government is advisedly hinders the media from providing the information to the community in a timely, complete and comprehensive manner. 
 
The community has the right to receive information about the current social and political events in the country from different sources. Especially when the political situation in the country is critically tense.
 
Since the voting day of the elections dated October 31, 2020, the media representatives have been repeatedly hindered during the accomplishment of their professional activities. 
 
On the voting day, activists mobilized at the electoral areas through the whole country reported aggression against the media; verbal and physical abuse was reported as well. During the day, top-ranking officials encouraged this aggression with their statements.
 
On November 8, 2020, as a result of disproportionate force used by the law enforcement agencies at a rally near the building of the Central Election Commission, 4 journalists were injured. Other reporters were injured and their equipment was damaged as well. During the disruption of the rally, water cannons were aimed at the media representatives.
 
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics has always tried not to ignore every fact of persecution and illegal interference in the activities of journalists and has always addressed the investigative bodies, but all these attempts remained unresponded, as well as the fact that up to 40 journalists were injured during the disruption of the protest rally on June 20, 2019. Such an approach has encouraged the violence more. 
 
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics addresses the representatives of the Diplomatic Corps and international organizations accredited in Georgia, as well as the international journalistic associations, to use all available means to protect the freedom of speech and expression in Georgia and create a safe working environment for journalists. 
 
31.07.2019
To the Prime Minister of Georgia  
and heads of press agencies of governmental institutions
 
Statement of Journalists Working in Georgia
 
Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, which unites 363 journalists, addresses you. Journalists within and outside of the organization talk about bad practices of several governmental (especially law enforcement structures) institutions. They are often invited to the briefings with no prior knowledge of what the discussed topic will be. It is vital that media knows the topic of briefing or press conference, to decide, according to human and technical resources, whether they want to attend or not.

21.06.2019
Appeal by the journalists to the
Georgian Government
the Georgian Interior Minister and
the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia

The breakup of a rally in the Rustaveli Avenue on June 21, 2019, in Tbilisi has resulted in injured representatives of the media. According to their reports, the law enforcement officers were target-shooting the journalists even when their status as media workers performing their professional duties was evident.

19.06.2019
On June 13, 2019, the chairman of the Parliament of Georgia and the Georgian National Communications Commission spread information on amendments to the Law on Broadcasting of Georgia with the purpose of regulating hate speech. The amendments are planned to be passed by July 1, 2019. Georgia’s obligation to implement audiovisual media Directive has been indicated as the basis for that.

15.06.2019
According to media reports, homophobic rally activists are preventing and threatening the journalists who are covering the events taking place at the Chancellery. The incidents occurred against journalists of Netgazeti, Liberali, Radio Tavisufleba, Adjara TV, TV Pirveli and Rustavi 2.

According to “Netgazeti”, a participant of the homophobic rally snatched the mobile phone of the "Netgazeti" reporter, Giorgi Diasamidze, and threw it to the ground. As Giorgi Diasamidze said, the process was observed by the police but they did not react in any way. “Do you want me to smash this phone onto your head?" ... "I have memorized your face" –these words were used by members of the counter rally arranged near the Chancellery to threaten Lika Zakashvili, the Editor of Liberali, and another journalist of the same publication.  According to the edition, the police arrested that participant of the rally after the incident. "How stupid you are!" – in this way the businessman Levan Vasadze addressed the Nino Khozrevanidze, the journalist of Adjara TV, when the reporter asked him why they had showed up at the rally as their appearance caused the confrontation.

15.05.2019
According to TV Company Odishi, on May 14, representatives of "Georgian Dream" opposed their respondent, Sandra Roelofs, Zugdidi mayoral candidate of the United Opposition, when filming the TV program "Lustration” in the garden of the Zugdidi Historical Museum. The camera crew was verbally and physically assaulted. The TV Company has released video footage of the incident.
12.04.2019
With this statement signatory non-governmental organizations would like to express our strong negative attitude towards the initiative of two members of the Advisory Board of the Adjara Public Broadcaster on the impeachment of Natia Kapanadze, Director of Adjara TV and Radio.

30.01.2019

At the beginning of 2019, high-ranking officials made numerous statements regarding the legislative amendments related to defamation.

According to the President of Georgia, there is a need for legislation that provides more protection for both human dignity and freedom of speech. The Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia stated that the discussion must start not only on the issue of defamation but also with regard to the problem of severe insult and increased use of offensive language.

27.01.2019
Recently media has begun to actively cover the murder of the US citizens, the Smiths family, who were killed in the Khada Gorge in July of 2018. The public was shown a testimony given to the investigation by the defendant as well as the photographs that had been supposedly provided by law enforcement agencies. In the nearest future, the jurors will start hearing the case on merits in the court. Thus, the interest of the Prosecutor’s Office is obvious- to use media to disseminate the desired information.

Therefore, the media has a great responsibility to ensure that it does not become the instrument for influencing the jurors and the sentiments in society in favour of the Prosecutor’s Office. To this end, it is necessary to do the following:
28.09.2018
Statement of Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics about the fact of attack on Zura Vardiashvili, editor of Liberali. He said that on the evening of 15th of September he was physically attacked by a group of 5-6 people. The investigation is ongoing by the 126th article (violence). Even though several days have passed since the attack, the investigation has not yet announced results to the audience. According to the first information, attackers mistook Zura Vardiashvili with a different person and the attack was not connected to his professional work.
13.09.2018
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics is observing the events around TV Iberia. Journalists of the TV company say that they are under pressure from the government to create problems for the funding company. Audio recordings were published which may contain criminal statements.
05.09.2018
Georgian media outlets report that tens of employees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) have received proposals, according to which the terms of their employment contracts should be either changed or terminated. We suppose that this proposal is unjustified and may aim at dismissing tens of employees. Recent developments around GPB raise a number of questions and even the latest statement [released by GPB] does not provide answers to them.

25.05.2018
Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics Council is evaluating the statement of Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarchate to ask church members and every citizen “for whom the church is valuable” to boycott Rustavi 2, as going against media and freedom of speech.

19.03.2018
Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics requests the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office to promptly investigate the attack on Rustavi 2 journalists that took place on 19th of March.

The reason of the attack was the text of the host of P.S., Giorgi Gabunia, in the show of 18th of March. The video recording of the incident shows not only the interference with journalists’ job, but the use of force, violence, and other criminal signs. It is important for justice system to correctly classify this crime and investigate it quickly and effectively, to have the people using violence against media punished. A journalistic product cannot cause revenge no matter whether it is up to the professional standards or not.

19.02.2018
Almost 9 months have passed since the investigation started in the abduction case of the Azerbaijani journalist and activist Afgan Mukhtarli from the territory of Georgia but regardless high public interest to this case information about the progress of investigation
05.02.2018
Media Advocacy Coalition addresses the Parliament and Broadcasting Supervisory Board Council to react and openly state their position about the public statement of the member of the Supervisory Board, Giorgi Iakobashvili. Giorgi Iakobashvili, as a Supervisory Board member, defines the priorities and development strategy and controls the management of the Public Broadcasting. He was chosen for this position with 84 votes by Georgian Parliament in 2017.

02.02.2018
February 1, 2018

Thomas Kent, President, RFE/RL
Nenad Pejic, Vice President, RFE/RL

Mr. President,
Mr. Vice President,

21.12.2017
It has come to our knowledge that the Parliament of Georgia may follow the initiative proposed by the Ministry of Justice to amend the text of the new Constitution and lower the constitutional standard of access to public information.

15.12.2017
Georgian National Communications Committee made a statement on 12th of December in response to an influential nongovernmental organization – Transparency International Georgia – report, according to which Kakha Bekauri does not qualify for the requirements of a member/head of Georgian National Communications Committee. In the statement of the committee, Transparency International Georgia is said to be the disseminator of “nonqualified and false information”.
02.08.2017
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics has filed a complaint regarding two materials prepared by Russian and Azerbaijani media to the Consultation Committee, which was created in order to fight against propaganda. The Commission was staffed with self-regulation council representatives from following countries – Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and Russia. The goal of the committee was to battle propaganda.

25.11.2015
A video containing a call for terrorism and violence was spread November 23. Several media outlets have spread the appeals unaltered. Society is entitled to receive information on possible violence or other danger. Ho
09.01.2015
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics expresses its sorrow over the terrorist act taken place in France and presents condolences and tolerance to relatives and colleagues of those killed, the French Embassy in Geor

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