RSF Alerts COE Media Platform about Adjara TV Developments

The Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based watchdog, published an alert about Georgia’s Adjara TV, Batumi based public broadcaster, on the Council of Europe’s Platform to promote protection of journalism and safety of journalists.

In the March 5 alert titled “several journalists sacked due to political pressure on public channel Adjara TV,” RSF said it is “concerned by the increasing control over the media in Georgia.” The watchdog called “on the authorities to respect the editorial independence of Adjara TV’s newsroom.”

The alert falls in the category of “Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom,” with the ‘State’ indicated as the source of threat.

The alert reads that “on 28 February 2020, Shorena Glonti was relieved of her duties as the head of Adjara TV’s newsroom, a regional public TV channel. On 19 February, the deputy head of newsroom, Maia Merkviladze, was also dismissed. Both were key figures in maintaining independent editorial policy.”  It further recalled that “on 2 February, ex-deputy director Natia Zoidze explained she had to resign under political pressure.”

RSF also noted that Adjara TV “journalists have protested several times since the Board of Advisors, in which 3 members out of 4 were nominated by the ruling Georgian Dream party, elected Giorgi Kokhreidze as the new director of the broadcaster on 22 November 2019.”

The watchdog highlighted that “the staff denounce persistent attempts to change the TV channel’s editorial line.”

“Some of them recently created an “alternative” trade union and are preparing to strike in defense of their editorial independence, should negotiations to put an end to state interference fail,”  the RSF alert added.

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