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Journalist beaten while covering rally

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, March 6
An IPN journalist/photographer Irakli Gedenidze was beaten while covering a rally against former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on February 5.

Three non-parliamentary opposition parties were taking part in the rally: Reformers, Free Georgia and the Christian-Democratic Movement. The rally participants demanded that the former PM honor the promises had given to the people prior to elections.

During the protest, one of the protesters accused Gedenidze of provoking him. The man then attacked him and broke his camera. Video footage of the incident shows another person who prevented Gedenidze from getting away.

Gedenidze says that before the incident he told the individual he was a journalist and was there to cover the protest.

Irakli Gedenidze was taken to the hospital by ambulance. His injuries are minor.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the suspect, Ivane Begiashvili, born in 1994, was detained for preventing a journalist from working, as well as maliciously destroying the journalist’s property.

Member of Free Georgia Bezhan Gunava apologized because of the incident. “If he is our party activist, he will take responsibility,” Gunava says.

Some other members of rally claim that it was a provocation, as no police cars were nearby during the incident.

Following the incident, TV Maestro issued a special statement saying that the channel will not cover the political parties’ events if the political leaders refuse to take responsibility for their actions, if they do not publicly apologize, if they do not compensate for the damage, and if all the individuals involved in the incident are not punished.

The Maestro says that an attack one journalist is an attack on the whole media.