The facts of pressure on journalists – incomplete statistics of the last year
Maia TsiklauriMedia Discusions
For a few days «TV 9» and its own agency "INFO 9" journalists' media group had been chased by the strangers on behalf of “Real TV” and the name of KK info.net giving provocative questions and as the journalists say, hampering their work. Besides, recently there were also the strangers interfering media activities sometimes verbally and sometimes physically assaulting them.
The journalists have claimed not once in the media about the interference in journalistic activities of the last year and applied to the chief prosecutor to investigate the case. The Public Defender Giorgi Tughushi applied the prosecutor's office with the recommendation to investigate the specific facts, but in most cases, these cases did not proceed.
Such facts were covered by Media.Ge. Here is presented the list of facts hindering works for the last one year which were prepared according to the materials available to us. Media.Ge will not pretend that this data is perfect. This list does not include "the photographers case", which is enclosed withGriffith secret and the society is not aware to now what happened indeed.
- On May 26, 2011, during dispersing the meeting organized by opposition, the journalists were injured; their equipment was damaged as well. "The Young Lawyers' Association informed the Prosecutor’s Office about 16 journalists in total. Some journalists appealed the court and won the case, but the police - did not pay the due amount of money.
- On September 30, 2011, in the city Telavi, the patrol police officers tried to take away the camera from the "RegionalInformationCenter" journalist and did not allow shooting. That time the Reporter tried to cover the presentation of the "Industry Saves Georgia" deputy candidate.
- On September 25, 2011 TV Company "Maestro” presenter Shalva Ramishvili was arrested in Kvareli. He was in the vicinity of the house, when people dressed in civilian clothes made Ramishvili and his crew to leave the territory by force. Presenter stated that the video equipment was seized without proper documentation, which was later returned.
- 2011 On October 31, a photographer from Kutaisi, Roberto Kvelini was verbally and physically assaulted by four-person group of unknown people. The photographer associates the fact of his beating on October 3 with the photo session. Then R. Kvelini shot nude photos of his girl friend, near the river Rioni.
- On November 6, 2011, Gela Mtivlishvili the head of the "RegionalInformationCenter" received a threatening letter from the former prosecutor of the Regional Prosecutor's Office on his personal e-mail. The journalist associates the fact with his journalist job.
- In November 2011 Lado Bichashvili the journalist of TV Company "Trialeti" received threatening messages too.
- On November 20, 2011, Mzia Amaglobeli the newspaper Batumelebi" director identified the person blackmailing T. Jorbenadze the newspaper's investigative team coordinator. They called the police, who did not draw up the written document. Newspaper “Batumelebi” applied with the declaration to the Prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and the Minister of Internal Affairs. Investigation of the case is not completed on the fact of T. Jorbenadze.
- On November 30, 2011 TV Company "Maestro" manager, the "Rustavi Media Management" company director, Erosi Kitsmarishvili climbed TV station and occupied the part of the building, TV Company founder Mamuka Glonti locked himself together with his journalists in the TV studio. TV broadcasts were suspended for several hours. Glonti and journalists recovered radio "Maestro" and applied to court for interfering the journalistic activity. The case did not proceed.
- On April 6, 2012, the Media Group "Adjara PS" journalist Sulkhan Meskhidze while shooting the eviction process because of bank loans, the Kobuleti police chief, David Bezhanidze tried to take away his video camera and hit him.
- May 2, 2012, the newspaper "PS" journalist Irakli Vachiberadze happened to face problems with the members of the President Security, and on May 3, he had a dispute with the Security members of the Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili and the Parliament Vice Speaker. The incident occurred at the Meliton Balanchivadze Opera House, where Merabishvili and Vice-Speaker of the “National Movement” activists were holding a closed meeting.
According to the Journalist during recording the meeting he started to shot the conversation by his own mobile phone, and attracted the attention. He was taken out by security members and was beaten up.
- May 11, 2012, the Dusheti Municipal Office Board did not allow Zurab Pataridze the operator of the GNS-TV Investigation Studio to shot. The GNS journalist Bella Zakaidze said the guard member insulted the operator, covered a camera with his hand and threatened him.
- May 20, 2012, the Tianeti Regional Information Center director Gela Mtivlishvili was arrested while shooting the police station building. The journalist said he was beaten by police and was not allowed to contact his lawyer. The incident ended about an hour later, when Mtivlishvili because of his health problems appeared in the local hospital. The Ministry of Internal Affairs said that Mtivlishvili organized provocation.
- June 7, 2012 "INFO 9" Tsalenjikha journalist Gocha Nachkebia and his cameraman Gocha Saria were threatened by unknown persons that if they do not stop to work for the agency they would not leave the city and be paid off.
- For the investigation of the case on obstructing the journalistic work, the TV company “TV 9” requested to start up the case. It happened on June 12, 2012. “TV 9” Zugdidi Municipality Paata Lagvilava the reporter said that in the Zugdidi, the village Orulu Bidzina Ivanishvili was meeting with the residents. According to Lagvilava the meeting was attended by the forty members of the "National Movement" and Council employees. When they tried to ask questions, the main specialist Irakli Mikaia first hit the camera, and then tried seizing the microphone. The second specialist, Lado Sulukhia and the lawyer David Chanturia had been acting also aggressively. The journalist said that after this incident, on June 13, he was not able to enter the building.
- On June 13, 2012, the news agency "INFO 9" journalist and the cameraman from the village Ditsi were verbally and physically insulted. The water problem of the village was the crew intending to cover. Shorena Gongladze the journalist visited the Village Governot Mr Bolashvili to comment on the issue. First, the governor accepted without comment, but later, when he noticed the "INFO 9" logo, demanded switching the camera off and the crew to leave the area immediately.
According to the journalist, the uniformed villagers helped the head of the village in physically and verbally insulting the crew. This all happened in front of the police officers, who did not even try to settle the incident matter. The operator Tornike Tibilashvili recalles that he got suddenly hit by uncertain subject in his head during the clash, and got minor injuries.
- On June 18, 2012, the TV "Trialeti" declared that his crew was attacked in Surami. "Trialeti TV" journalists had been talking with flood affected people, when they were attacked by unknown person. He demanded to stop shooting and leave the place. Later, local residents said that this person was a police officer Shalva Khachidze.
- On June 26, 2012, in the village Mereti after a fight broke out between the government and opposition supporters the journalists were injured as well. The «TV 9» journalist Nodar Skhirtladze said he and his cameraman were aggressively treated, and beaten. During this conflict the Information Agency "INFO 9" car got damaged as well.
- On June 26, 2012 in the village Dirbi, the government supporters and the opposition coalition "Georgian dream" leaders began to fight. The supporters of the government insulted the Information Agency "INFO 9" shot crew and demanded to stop shooting. They hit the camera several times.
- On June 27, 2012, the newspaper "Resonance" editorial published an article saying that the Akhalgori Culture House Director George Ekaladze threatened the journalist Marie Otarashvili in Tserovani settlement of refugees.
- On July 4, 2012, in the village Tsedisi, the "INFO 9" crew was beaten. The journalist Rezo Nadiradze and the cameraman Lexo Alexidze had arrived in the village to cover the protest. Suddenly the car came across and one person out of that car hit the microphone. When a reporter asked why he did it, the other person physically assaulted a journalist and a cameraman.
- End of June 2012 for a week, the "INFO 9" journalist Katherine Dugladze had been chased by the news "media 7-person group" with video cameras, asked her questions and did not allow to work.
- On July 6, 2012, in Gardabani, the "INFO 9” journalist Nina Basishvili was asked provocative questions and was not allowed to work by the journalist of the agency KKinfo.net.
- On July 8, 2012, in Guria, the «TV 9» journalist Natia Rokva was asked provocative questions by "Real TV" journalist and was not allowed to work.
- On July 9, 2012 in the village Akhaldaba, the news agency "INFO 9" operator Tornike Tibilashvili got injured performing his professional duties. One person in the village Akhaldaba has demanded from the "INFO 9" operator Tornike Tibilashvili to stop shooting, and then hit the fist into the face. Tibilashvili covered the conflict between the government supporters and the opposition.
The Criminal Code Article 154 prohibits the interference in journalistic activities; however, no one had been convicted under this article for the last year.