The Union of Journalists of Abkhazia released a statement on 24 November, expressing concern over the “increasing incidence of interference” by the occupied region’s authorities in the activities of state media, “which grossly violates current legislation.”
The statement noted that representatives of authorities have been placing pressure on the editorial offices of state media and recalled that under the occupied region’s Law on Mass Media, “censorship is unacceptable.”
The Union cited the absence of journalists from a recent meeting of the Social and Political Forces of Abkhazia on 23 November as a prominent example of “such censorship.” “We know from reliable sources that media outlets were instructed not to attend or cover the event,” they added.
The Union underscored that this obstruction “not only limits the activities of editorial offices but also violates ‘the rights of citizens to receive prompt, reliable information through the media on the activities of public associations.”
The Union called on Kremlin-backed Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania, as well as the “speaker of the national assembly”, and the prosecutor general, to respond to the violation and the overall facts of attempted censorship of media.
“Freedom of speech is a national treasure […] enshrined in the constitution of our country, and under no circumstances can infringement of the rights and freedom of citizens, journalists, and media outlets be allowed,” the Union underscored.