TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s public defender calls on law enforcement bodies to react to the violent attacks on journalists during the night of July 5 and the following days and make the results public.
After crowds of ultra conservatives hunted down journalists in the street and beat them in the night of July 5 to 6, locally dubbed the July 5-6 Pogroms, there were virtually daily disruptions of journalistic activities and physical and verbal attacks on them, said a statement posted on the ombudsman’s official Facebook page on Tuesday.
Politicians often supply “political justifications” for such cases, which further incites violence against members of the media, the statement reads.
“However, unfortunately, law enforcement agencies do not respond to all such cases in a timely, strict and effective manner. The organizers of the violence against journalists on July 5-6 have not been identified and appropriate measures have not been taken to bring them to justice, which creates a syndrome of impunity.
“As a result, journalistic activities are endangered, and due to security risks, this can have a detrimental effect on media representatives and lead to self-censorship, which will undermine media freedom,” the letter reads.
Lomjaria calls on the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to identify the main perpetrators, i.e. the organizers of the violent groups on July 5-6, and to initiate criminal proceedings against them.