Parliament Slaps Bans on Critical Journalists at GD Vice-Speaker’s Request

At the request of vice-speaker Nino Tsilosani, two journalists from the two opposition-leaning media outlets have been temporarily banned from the legislative building. GD MP Tsilosani demanded their accreditations be suspended after the journalists approached her even though she refused to answer their questions.

On June 4, Sopho Gozalishvili, a journalist with the opposition-leaning Formula TV, was banned from working in parliament for six months, till December 4. “Despite [the MP’s] refusal, the journalist continued her attempt to record the interview,” reads the Parliament’s comment to Formula TV. The video released by Formula TV following the ban shows MP Tsilosani exiting the meeting and telling journalists addressing her questions in the lobby, “I am not giving a comment to fascist TV,” after which a brief altercation follows in which the MP tells the journalist she would be sanctioned in accordance with the Parliament rules for pressing the question.

A day earlier, on June 3, a similar incident occurred when another journalist, Nini Balanchivadze of another opposition-leaning Mtavari TV, was banned from working in the legislative building for one month. The video footage shows that when pressed by the Mtavari TV journalist to comment on the expected U.S. sanctions, MP Nino Tsilosani, who voted in favor of the foreign agents law, refused to answer and threatened the journalist: “I will make a motion that you be sanctioned.”

The bans come as a result of implementing a controversial February 2023 Order issued by Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, which restricted the framework of accreditation and conduct of the media in the legislative building. The rules oblige the journalists to terminate an interview if an MP, staff member, or guest objects.

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