The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has released a statement which reads that law-enforcement bodies have identified four people who physically and verbally abused Tbilisi-based Tabula TV journalists on January 12 at the Tchashnagiri restaurant in Tbilisi.
Police identify people abusing Tabula journalists
By Messenger Staff
Monday, January 18
The police stated that Shalva G, 28, Tornike T, 28, Demetre L, 26, and Ani Kh, 22, have been identified as the perpetrators and an investigation has been launched on the charge of assault.
Tabula TV journalists Irakli Kiknavelidze, Nino Macharashvili, Levan Sutidze and a former employee of the media outlet, Avto Koridze, stated they were assaulted by three individuals at the restaurant.
They stressed that the assaulters abused them both physically and verbally, trashed the restaurant and then fled.
According to journalists, their professional activities and their criticism of the Orthodox Church were named as the motive for the assault.
The Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuashvili, has released a special statement on the issue, condemning all forms of violence, including violence against journalists due to their professional activities, which he dubbed “particularly alarming”.
“The role of freedom of expression and a free media is invaluable in building inclusive, informed societies and a democracy, as well as in establishing effective governance. It is necessary to conduct a prompt and effective investigation into the above-mentioned incident and to properly punish the offenders in order to prevent the recurrence of violence in the future,” Nanuashvili said.
The Ombudsman said that during the investigation, special attention should be paid to the proper evaluation of the hateful motive, noting that he would personally observe the investigation and would periodically provide relevant information to the public.