Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Paris-based press freedom watchdog, issued a statement on September 30, calling on the Georgian authorities “to guarantee the safety of journalists” and “to conduct a transparent investigation” into the incident which saw five journalists physically assaulted on September 29 in Marneuli while covering election campaign developments.
The head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia office, Jeanne Cavelier “urged the [Georgian] authorities to conduct a full and transparent investigation in order to identify those responsible” and recalled that “the state has an obligation to ensure the protection of journalists.” “Reporters must be able to cover the electoral campaign without being targeted ,” Cavalier highlighted.
In her remarks, Cavalier also stated that the organization calls on the leaders of both, ruling Georgian Dream and opposition’s United National Movement parties to denounce these attacks.
“Four weeks before a high-stakes election, the fight against the impunity of the perpetrators of violence is a necessity,” Cavalier concluded.
Two journalists and two camera operators of pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV and a cameraman of Georgian Public Broadcaster were physically assaulted on the evening of September 29 in the town of Marneuli, Georgia’s southern Kvemo Kartli region, while covering election campaign violent incidents that occurred in the town earlier that day. Jeikhun Muhamedali blamed several ruling Georgian Dream party activists of physical assault against him.