The Special Investigation Service announced on March 17 that one person had been arrested for violence against journalist Nato Gogelia.
“TV Pirveli” reported that on March 15, their journalist visited the home of a person suspected of having pulled down the European Union’s flag in front of the Parliament building during a rally of the ultra-right and ultra-conservative party “Conservative Movement” in Tbilisi the previous day. According to the TV station, the journalist was physically assaulted and her cell phone was broken while she was using it for journalistic purposes.
According to Nato Gogelia herself, at first, the respondent answered all her questions, confirming that he indeed had taken down the flag, and noting that he has not been contacted by anyone from the investigative authorities. “It didn’t happen on the territory of his house, because he didn’t want to talk in the yard, and left the yard at his own request,” Gogelia recalls. She says that during the interview with the respondent, allegedly his father joined the conversation with “bad words, swearing” and told them to leave.
“This was followed by high aggressiveness from [Mamuka] Andghuladze [respondent]. Verbal abuse, physical abuse. The first thing he did was to try to grab the phone and he managed to break it,” Gogelia says, explaining that the alleged perpetrator’s mother then “covered” him and he was able to leave the scene.
Non-governmental organizations demand a “quick” and “effective” investigation
The “Media Advocacy Coalition”, a non-governmental association working on media issues, addressed the incident today and called on the authorities to “promptly investigate the attack on the journalist of “TV Pirveli” and the fact of the interference with the professional activity”.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that media professionals have been attacked in this country. The inappropriate response of the government to such facts and the aggressive disinformation campaign against critical journalists encourage this kind of violence,” the coalition said.
The member organizations of the coalition also called on the authorities to “ensure the creation of a safe working environment for the media, to publicly condemn such facts and to effectively investigate them.”
“The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics”, in a separate statement yesterday, called on the Special Investigative Service to conduct a “speedy” and “effective” investigation. “The Charter has repeatedly stated that the factors causing the frequent attacks on journalists in the recent period, are the protracted and uninvestigated cases of crimes committed against media representatives,” the Charter’s statement reads.
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