The Public Defender of Georgia stated on September 8 that recent rallies and violent threats against Pankisi Community Radio represent possible attempts aimed at obstructing journalistic activity and called on the Interior Ministry to conduct a timely investigation on the matter.
The Ombudsperson stressed that the Ministry should take appropriate measures to ensure a safe and unobstructed working environment for the radio and its employees.
The Public Defender clarified that under Georgian law, statements containing threats or incitement of violence are not protected under the freedom of assembly or the freedom of expression and urged the anti-radio protesters to observe the laws.
The Ombudsperson recalled that at the August 29 and September 5 rallies against the community radio in Pankisi, protesters issued threatening statements against the radio and its founder, Gela Mtivlishvili. “In order to prevent an impending attack, the management of the Pankisi Community Radio canceled the journalistic activities and technical work it had planned to carry out in the Pankisi Gorge, as well as business trips,” the statement remarked.
The Pankisi Radio alleged that the governing Georgian Dream party and the State Security Service were pulling the strings behind the protest. Luiza Mutoshvili of the Radio told Civil.ge that the protest against them was connected to their critical coverage of the government policies in the northeastern Pankisi Gorge.
- Media Coalition on Violent Threats against Pankisi Radio
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