Media Advocacy Coalition, uniting some dozen local CSOs, and the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, a non-state self-regulatory body, have condemned the “systematic attacks” and “threats” against journalists by government officials, and called on the Interior Ministry to “immediately investigate” such cases and take preventive measures.
In a May 28 statement, the Coalition said threats against journalists should be subject to criminal and political liabilities, while the Charter stated on May 27 that any remarks against journalists’ rights and freedom of expression “pose a threat to the democratic development of the Georgian state.”
The statements came after Nugzar Solomonidze, a Georgian Dream member of Khulo Local Council (Sakrebulo) in Adjara, allegedly threatened Nazibrola Rekhviashvili, an analyst of the Factcheck platform run by Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS), over her Facebook post.
Rekhviashvili had shared on social media a fragment from Solomonidze’s televised interview, where he mistakenly referred to Adjara Government Head Tornike Rizhvadze as the Chair of the Supreme Council, the region’s legislature. “He cannot form his opinions,” Rekhviashvili noted in her post.
“Time will come and you will understand that you put yourself in danger,” Solomonidze replied, according to a screenshot published in the media. In a subsequent interview with Formula TV, Solomonidze alleged that Rekhviashvili had insulted him personally, and “deserved” the reply. Rekhviashvili denied the accusation, saying it was “yet another attack” against journalists, media, and civil society.
The Interior Ministry has yet to comment on the matter.