The Media Advocacy Coalition, uniting twelve local watchdog and media organizations, released a statement on January 30, calling for “timely, effective and impartial” investigation into physical assault against Nika Gvaramia, director general of pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV.
Gvaramia said that it was an attack masterminded by the ruling Georgian Dream party, noting that the assailants were performing the orders by Parliament’s Vice Speaker Gia Volski – the allegations the latter categorically denies.
“Nika Gvaramia is a dishonest man, he invents fake news. I do not think that this should have a serious response,” MP Volski told reporters on January 31.
The Interior Ministry has launched investigation under article 126 of the criminal code of Georgia, involving violence. No charges have been brought against anyone so far.
The Media Advocacy Coalition said in its statement that all perpetrators should be identified and held accountable duly “to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring in the future.”
“We deem alarming frequent verbal aggression and its encouragement against critical media outlets that will definitely entail physical assaults against media representatives. We call on top officials to put the issues of safety of journalists and media freedom on their political agenda,” the statement reads.