Local News Outlet Calls on Authorities to Ensure Safety of its Journalists

Local news outlet (Mountain News) issued a statement today in response to attacks by the ruling Georgian Dream government on its active coverage of the Shovi landslide tragedy. The statement says: “In recent days, the Georgian Dream has launched an aggressive campaign against Mtisambebi. The unfounded and irresponsible statements made by the Speaker of Parliament, the leader of the parliamentary majority and other public figures are encouraging dangerous forms of violence”. The news agency is saying this campaign “threatens the physical inviolability and professional activities of its journalists” and is calling on the authorities to ensure the safety of the journalists.

The statement, which the news agency said was prompted by today’s renewed attack against the media outlet by Parliament Speaker Papuashvili, stresses: “It is our responsibility to keep the public informed, especially in times of crisis” and notes that while their team is focused on this goal, “the government’s goal is to distract us, divert our attention to other issues and confuse the society.”

At a press conference today, Speaker Shalva Papuashvli lashed out at the media, which he said had been “spreading false information” in recent days. He said that “hatred of the government and the desire to attract attention with scandals make some people so blind that they are ready to invent lies – the aim is to create confusion and panic in society”. He listed nine “false” narratives, which he said “can easily be described as an information attack on Georgian society, the purpose of which is to create distrust towards the state, create confusion in society and sow panic”. He specifically named MtisAmbebi as a news outlet spreading false information about the causes of the Shovi landslide

The statement reads: “The government is no longer allowing us to enter the disaster zone and has restricted the release of public information by state agencies. In fact, we do not have access to a number of documents.” The news outlet nevertheless pledges to “continue to investigate the causes of the natural disasters, uncover facts that show signs of criminality and provide unbiased information to the public.”

MtisAmbebi  is the media outlet focusing on the high mountain regions of Georgia. It disseminates news from mountainous regions such as Tusheti, Khevsureti, Pshavi, Mtiuleti, Khevi, Trialeti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Mtiani Adjara, Racha-Lechkhumi and Svaneti, paying special attention to promoting the solution of problems in mountainous regions. Mtisambebi proved to be one of the most reliable, quick and informative news providers during the tragic events of the Shovi landslide. It also has a valuable archive of information going back years, including video evidence of the recurring environmental problems and threats of natural disaster threats in the Racha region, which have been largely ignored by the government in the recent years.

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


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