Media Coalition Slams Culture Minister over ‘Discrimination Against Journalists’

The Media Advocacy Coalition, uniting more than a dozen local civil society organizations, today called on the Culture Ministry “to stop discrimination against journalists,” after it refused to allow the crews of government-critical Mtavari Arkhi TV and TV Pirveli into a press briefing.

The Coalition said that the journalists of the two TV networks had not received an invitation to Culture Minister Tea Tsulukiani’s briefing, and only part of the media outlets was able to attend. Mtavari Arkhi TV reported that it found out about the briefing on its own, and dispatched a crew, which had to wait about half an hour before being refused by the Ministry security to attend the event.

The watchdogs argued that such a “discriminatory approach” violates the right of journalists to perform their professional duties and to receive and disseminate information about important issues, as well as restricts the public from keeping an eye on ongoing developments through a variety of sources.

The Coalition also called on the Ministry to “give every journalist equal access to information.” 

The civil society outfits recalled that several government-critical outlets were not invited at Justice Minister Rati Bregadze’s November 11 briefing either. “Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the government agencies have shown a selective attitude towards media outlets,” the Coalition noted.

During today’s briefing, Culture Minister Tea Tsulukiani unveiled a new annual literary award, named “Best of the Year.”

The Culture Ministry declined to comment with about the reported refusal to allow the journalists of the two TV networks to attend the briefing.

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