The Media Advocacy Coalition strongly denounces the assaults on the filming crews of TV Pirveli and Formula TV channels by Otar Fartskhaladze's security detail and unlawful interference in their professional activities. The Coalition calls on the authorities to promptly investigate the mentioned attacks and punish the individuals responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
According to reports by Formula TV and TV Pirveli, on September 20th, the security detail of the US-sanctioned former prosecutor, Otar Fartskhaladze, attacked their journalists, physically assaulted them, and took their equipment away. Formula TV reported that their journalist was beaten, and TV Pirveli said that theircamera crew had their broadcasting equipment and phone taken away.
The Special Investigation Service said it has launched an investigation into the illegal interference with the work of the TV Pirveli and Formula TV journalists.
The government has a responsibility to ensure that journalists can work without fear for their safety or freedom, as media freedom is a fundamental part of a democratic society. The journalists were subject to attack during a time when they were fulfilling their professional duty by informing the public about an important topic for the country. It is important to mention that Formula TV and TV Pirveli, media outlets known for their critical reporting, have been covering a number of significant and controversial matters regarding Otar Fartskhaladze over the years, including his potential links to Russia.
The reported instances of violence are a blatant breach of media freedom and journalist rights. Previous cases of uninvestigated violence, coercion and illicit surveillance by officials encourage these types of attacks.
The Media Advocacy Coalition calls on the authorities to investigate these incidents and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.