TBILISI, DFWatch – Groups organized rally in front of Justice Ministry on Friday to protest against a number of incidents of violation of journalist rights, and verbal and physical abuse. They demand to launch an objective investigation of each incident.
For the last few months journalists from the regions have told stories of being subjected to various forms of harassment and restrictions of their activity at public places from the police or state guard. Several groups had organized a rally gathered outside the justice ministry to ask why these incidents have not been investigated.
During the demonstration, one of the Saakashvili regime’s trusty spokespersons in matters of law appeared. The justice ministry was strictly speaking not his turf: Pavle Kublahsvili, who is head of Parliament’s Judiciary Committee and brother of the head of the Supreme Court, told demonstrators that sometimes these reports are exaggerated, especially reports from the regions.
But as a general rule, there should be a strict reaction every time there is harassment of journalists or interruption in their work, he said.
“Reaction to these incidents is important also because there would be prevention in the future. You can apply to the Prosecutor’s Office for details.”
He then responded to the incident Gela Mtivlishvili experienced, saying that this is special case and there will be a reaction. He promised to follow these processes. Mtivlishvili was detained in the north of Georgia, when he was trying to make video footage of administrative building, he said police had beaten him, took his camera and deleted material.
Zviad Koridze, who is member of Coalition for Freedom of Choice and also represents Georgian Ethics Charter of Journalists was also present on today’s event. He says that separate cases of interruption in journalism activity and violence aren’t investigated at all.
“There is no case that it would be possible to say ended with complete investigation or trial. We can’t remember any official punished because of having interrupted a journalist.”
Participants of the rally also spoke about the events of May 26, 2011, when police violently dispersed peaceful rally, causing at least four death victims. Then journalists were also beaten, damaged equipment and deleted material.