1. TV Iberia, GDS, Rustavi 2. On October 8, unidentified individuals physically abused and damaged cameras of journalists and cameramen of TV Iberia and GDS, while taking away microphone of Rustavi 2 journalist. In addition, as the footage aired in the media shows, the offenders were abusing the majoritarian candidate of United National Movement with homophobic language.
According to the regional edition, Kutaisi Today: "The first Deputy Governor of Imereti, Giorgi Chighvaria, was heading the given task together with the Head of Organizational and HR Management Department of City Assembly, Levan Gogelashvili. Kakha Abzianidze, Gocha Avaliani, Giorgi Svanidze and Gia JIncharadze were spearheading the youngsters’ conflict.”
Ministry of Internal Affairs started an investigation on this fact with the 187th article of the Criminal Code of Georgia (Damaging or destroying another person's property which has resulted in substantial damage).
2. Netgazeti. The second incident took place on October 9, at nearly 01:30, near the office of the internet-edition Netgazeti at Paster Street, where, according to the editorial board of the edition, up to 20 youngsters had gathered and were having a fight on political grounds. A Netgazeti reporter was recording the given conflict with a phone and was asked by the youngsters to stop it. After the phone battery of the reporter went off, the youngsters verbally abused the journalist, who was followed by them until the Netgazeti office with continuous verbal abuses. The reporter managed to make it into the office.
"1. Unlawful interference with the journalist's professional activities, i.e. coercing a journalist into disseminating or not disseminating information, - shall be punished by a fine or community service from 120 to 140 or with corrective labour for up to two years.
2. The same act committed using threat of violence or official position, - shall be punished by a fine or imprisonment for up to two years, with or without the deprivation of the right to hold an official position or to carry out a particular activity for up to three years or without this.”
● We call upon the law enforcement bodies to assign respective qualification to the journalists-related incidents that took place in Kutaisi (TV Iberia, GDS, Rustavi 2) and Tbilisi (Netgazeti). In Kutaisi case, there is a need to investigate the alleged participation of public officers in the above-mentioned events.