On May 1, Giorgi Kokhreidze, director of Adjara TV, has suspended Teona Turmanidze from anchoring “Mtavari,” channel’s prime newscast, for a term of one year.
Teona Turmanidze was first suspended from anchoring the program on April 21 – for an indefinite term – after she had openly criticized on Facebook Kokhreidze’s policy of staff changes.
Turmanidze said that the TV management accused her of violating one of the clauses in her employment contract, which stipulated that an employee must not take any action contravening legal and moral norms at work or outside – which leads to “discrediting of an employee or the employer.”
Turmanidze noted that, prior to to the TV management voicing its complaints, she supposed she was suspended due to her violating of new rules of conduct in social network that had been uploaded on the broadcaster’s website on April 20.
She, however, added that she learned about the “real” reason behind director’s decision” some four days after her suspension – only upon her request.
Turmanidze said that she was reassigned by the management to another job and will continue working on a radio program of the same channel.
In another turn of events, Malkhaz Rekhviashvili, a host of the talk show Hashtag and a head of Alternative Trade Union of Adjara TV, who had publicly sided with Turmanidze, was accused by the TV director of violating contract terms.
On April 21, after Turmanidze’s suspension from anchoring, Rekhviashvili, another vocal critic of Kokhreidze’s policies, wrote on Facebook that Turmanidze had been suspended because of her Facebook posts that appeared on April 13-14.
In a letter to Rekhviashvili dated on April 28, the Adjara TV director wrote that Turmanidze was not suspended on account of her violation of the rules of conduct. Kokhreidze allegedly demanded Rekhviashvili to refute the information that he had spread for fear of “relevant” measures by TV management.
Malkhaz Rekhviashvili responded to the director in a public letter on April 29, claiming that administrative proceedings against Turmanidze “were not concluded” and the assumptions voiced in her status could not be considered “a lie.”
In his letter, Rekhviashvili also spoke about the alleged persecution of critical journalists. He noted that his dismissal would not be lawful according to the article 37 of the Labor Code of Georgia, as it “does not foresee dismissal of a person for publicly expressing an opinion.”
The case of Turmanidze is not the first time Adjara TV journalists have spoken of persecution for voicing critical opinions under the new management. A series of protest rallies were held to protest the measures taken by the new management under Giorgi Kokhreidze.
The TV staff claims that several employees have been dismissed for expressing critical opinions about the management’s decisions, among them – Shorena Glonti, head of newsroom, and Teona Bakuridze, anchor of the main news program.
Furthermore, dissenters assert that positions of several “outspoken” employees have been deliberately abolished and, subsequently, they have been reassigned to other positions.
- Media Coalition: Adjara TV Journalists Continuously Persecuted for Their Opinions
- Acting, Dismissed Adjara TV Journalists to Start Legal Dispute
- Watchdog Takes Cases of Acting, Dismissed Adjara TV Employees to Court