Media organizations operating in Georgia have issued a joint statement regarding the death of cameraman Lekso Lashkarava and addressed the diplomatic corps.
According to the statement, the media appeals to the representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations accredited in Georgia to respond immediately and effectively to the targeted persecution of media representatives on Rustaveli Avenue on July 5, the facts of inflicting health injury, obstruction of professional activities and inaction of the Georgian government.
We offer the statement unchanged:
"Cases of violations of the rights of media representatives in Georgia have reached a critical level. Dozens of cases against the media are still uninvestigated. The government does not ensure the safety of journalists, and statements by representatives of the ruling party incite violence.
On July 5, 2021, at a counter-rally against the "March of Dignity", members of a violent group deliberately attacked media representatives, physically and verbally abused them, and deliberately destroyed equipment to obstruct their journalistic activities.
Despite preliminary calls from the civil sector, the state has not taken appropriate measures to protect media representatives. Insufficient police forces did not take measures to protect journalists. Moreover, on July 5, before the start of the government session, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, didn't put the responsibility on the participants of counter-rally, but the organizers of the "Dignity March" for the possible complication of the situation, and called on them not to march on Rustaveli Avenue.
On July 5, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 53 members of the media were injured, including Aleksandre Lashkarava, a cameraman for TV Pirveli, who was severely beaten by violent groups on July 5 while on duty. Alexander Lashkarava died on July 11.
Part of the media representatives still remain in the hospital. Members of various violent groups continue to openly threaten journalists and cameramen, to which law enforcement agencies have not responded accordingly. The organizers of the July 5 violent counter-rally, whose identities are publicly known, have not been arrested either.
It should be noted that most of the facts of assaulting journalists, obstruction of media activities and violence in the past have not been investigated so far and the issue of responsibility of the organizers of the violent groups has not been outlined.
We appeal to the representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations accredited in Georgia to respond immediately and effectively to the targeted persecution of media representatives on Rustaveli Avenue on July 5, the facts of inflicting health injury, obstruction of professional activities and the inaction of the Georgian authorities", - the statement reads.
The signatories of the statement are:
Charter of Journalistic Ethics;
Georgian First Channel Public Broadcaster
Adjara Television and Radio of the Public Broadcaster;
Radio Georgian Times
Radio Mtsvane Talga
Media Development Fund
Media and Communication Education and Research Center
Radio Voice of Abkhazia
Alternative Professional Union of Adjara TV and Radio of the Public Broadcaster
Holding Hereti: Radio Hereti FM102.8, Radio Tbilisi FM93.5, Radio Citrus FM97.3
Radio Old Town
Georgian Regional Radio Station Network
New TV Company
Radio Holding Fortuna
Social Reactive Blog
Palitranews; Radio Palitra
Media Holding Kronika +
Journalism Resource Center
Agro Environment TV
Alliance of Regional Broadcasters
Radio Green Wave