Media Coalition Denounces ‘Discrediting Campaign’ Against Journalists as Unacceptable

The Media Advocacy Coalition, a press freedom watchdog, said any attempt “to discredit journalists by publishing personal information and illegally sharing it with third parties simply because they have requested public information is unacceptable.”

In a statement released on January 31, the Coalition noted that Tea Giligashvili, chief producer of Mtavari Arkhi TV, became one of the victims of the “disinformation campaign” after she asked the Parliament for public information about the expenses of the Georgian Dream MPs’ visit to Italy.

“The letter sent to the Georgian Parliament was soon posted on the ruling party-affiliated Facebook page Sinamdvileshi (In Fact), which accused Giligashvili of trying to discredit the authorities and this happened simply because she has requested public information,” the Coalition said.

The Coalition stressed that the ruling party systematically uses the Facebook page to discredit its political opponents, civil society organizations, critical media and journalists, and tries to create negative public opinion by manipulating facts and photos.

The Coalition also recalled the case when the journalist’s personal data were illegally transferred to a third party in October 2022. Vladimer Mgaloblishvili, a member of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, published on Facebook the response of the office of the Adjarian Government to the letter requested by Tedo Jorbenadze, the editor of the newspaper “Batumelebi”, which contained “Tedo Jorbenadze’s personal data.”

“While investigating the matter, both the representatives of the Adjara Government Office and the member of the Supreme Council could not remember how the correspondence prepared for the journalist was made public, and the Personal Data Protection Service was unable to determine how the answer prepared for the journalist by the Adjara Government became available to the MP of Georgian Dream.”

The Media Advocacy Coalition believes that “disclosing a document received and/or sent by a public agency with partisan interests and attempting to discredit a journalist because of a request for public information creates a dangerous practice.” Therefore, the Coalition calls on:

  • The Office of the Georgian Parliament – to provide an explanation of how the letter sent by Tea Giligashvili to the Office became available on the ruling party-affiliated social media site.
  • The Personal Data Protection Service – to examine the legality of the letter sent to the Office of the Georgian Parliament and the transfer of the personal data mentioned in this letter to the Facebook page.
  • The Government – not to use the state resources for partisan purposes and attacks on the media; not to continue the faulty practice of providing public information and not to restrict citizens and media from accessing public information without justification.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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