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Media Coalition: Adjara TV Journalists Continuously Persecuted for Their Opinions

Coalition for Media Advocacy, uniting local media watchdogs, said the employees of Adjara TV and Radio Company, Batumi-based regional broadcaster, are continuously persecuted for their opinions which differ from those of the new management.

According to the statement released by Media Coalition on April 21, Giorgi Kokhreidze, director of Adjara TV and Radio Company, temporarily suspended journalist Teona Turmanidze from anchoring “Mtavari” – the main news program of the channel.

Citing Turmanidze, Media Coalition said the journalist was suspended from anchoring the news program for her opinion shared on her personal Facebook account.

Noteworthy, Media Coalition said, Adjara TV management published the code of conduct in social media for the employees on its website on April 20.

Turmanidze was reportedly suspended for her Facebook post of April 14, in which she decried the decision of Kokhreidze to reorganize Online Department of the channel.

On April 13, Sopho Zhgenti, Head of Online Department of Adjara TV wrote that the director stripped her department of number of duties, including the function of independently preparing news stories for the website.

Zhgenti, vocal critic of Kokhreidze and his team, stated that she was not consulted by the new management about the changes.

Zhgenti said she learnt about the reorganization only after she received notice by the management that journalist Nino Khazomia was appointed as the editor of online service, the function Zhgenti was previously entitled to perform.

Noteworthy, that on February 24, director Kokhreidze replaced vocal critic Maia Merkviladze by non-Adjara TV journalist Nino Khazhomia as the news editor. In an unexpected move, Khazhomia then left the position on February 28, four days after the appointment.

Prior to the reorganization, editors of the Online Department were entitled to independently create news articles for the TV’s web-platform and to update information on the website. In addition, the department employees were authorized to repost content prepared by the TV and radio section journalists on the website, as well as to manage social media accounts of the organization.

According to new statute adopted by the new management under Kokhreidze’s leadership, the department’s power is now limited to social media management and uploading the content, prepared by other service, on the website, having lost the right to create news content independently.

Earlier, in late March, citing state of emergency situation, the new management under Giorgi Kokhreidze suspended program Hashtag, anchors of which are among the leaders of the recently established Alternative Trade Union of Adjara TV, vocal critics of Kokhreidze’s policies.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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