A number of local CSOs and media watchdogs have reacted to a high-profile case disclosed on June 15, which involves an alleged murder plot targeting Mtavari Arkhi TV anchor Giorgi Gabunia, calling on the Georgian law enforcement authorities to make criminal case details public and ensure safety of journalists.
The Media Advocacy Coalition, which unites over a dozen civil society outfits, issued a statement on June 16 appealing to the authorities to ensure safety of Georgian journalists, and calling to “timely uncover evidence” regarding facts maintained by Mtavari arkhi.
Until now, authorities’ plans to guarantee personal safety of the journalist and extend protection to the media outlet remain unclear, the Coalition noted.
“We have numerously reminded the Georgian Government that respecting and protecting journalists’ rights is an objective of utmost importance,” reads the statement.
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, a non-state, self-regulatory body of journalists, highlighted in its statement that “authorities should promptly disclose details related to the investigation due to high public interest.”
The Charter also called on the Government to guarantee safety of journalists.
On June 15, Nika Gvaramia, director general of opposition-minded Mtavari Arkhi TV, announced at a press conference that the State Security Service foiled a plot to murder Giorgi Gabunia, a TV host, who had addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin on air using expletive-laden language last year. Gvaramia alleged that a ethnic-Ingush hitman, a Russian national, was sent to Georgia to murder Gabunia on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s orders.
As stated by the State Security Service, a Russian citizen was arrested on charges of purchasing and using forged documents. The agency said the suspect was also investigated for plotting to commit a contract killing.