The Media Advocacy Coalition categorically condemns the physical violence, confiscation of equipment and unlawful interference in the professional activities of the media covering the ongoing events at the Kvareli Lake Hotel.
According to media reports, a relative of the Russian Foreign Minister is hosting a wedding at the hotel on Lake Kvareli where Sergei Lavrov's sanctioned daughter, Yekaterina Vinokurova (Lavrova), and her husband are allegedly staying. The protest has been going on for two days and the media are actively covering the ongoing events in Kakheti region.
According to Formula TV, an employee of the security service of the Kvareli Lake Hotel physically assaulted the TV journalist and prevented him from carrying out his professional activities.
According to TV Pirveli, representatives of the Kakheti regional police confiscated the television crew's equipment, in particular the cameraman's telephone, which was used for live transmission. Per TV Pirveli communication channels are being suppressed in order to prevent the dissemination of information.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that media representatives have been unable to cover protests freely and safely. As a result of the state's inaction against violence and illegal interference, or because the government itself obstructs journalistic work, the media are faced with an established negative practice when covering protests.
The Georgian Constitution and legislation protect the rights of journalists to carry out their work without violence or interference. Accordingly, the Media Advocacy Coalition calls on the Georgian authorities to immediately cease unlawful interference in the activities of the media, to ensure that those responsible for the attack and interference are punished to the fullest extent of the law, and to provide safe working conditions.