The Media Development Foundation (MDF) expresses its deep concern over the incident that took place in the Tbilisi international airport in the early hours of June 19, when a group of men verbally and physically insulted Rustavi 2 TV crew. The incident occurred when Rustavi 2 TV crew was recording an interview with MP from opposition UNM party, Chiora Taktakishvili.
We suppose that the incident is a demonstration of violent background existing in the country. Sometimes the government encourages violent environment through inappropriate reaction, impunity of perpetrators; sometimes its separate members even personally encourage revanchist moods in the society through publicly justifying assailants’ actions.
To ensure healthy pre-election environment, it is utterly important for the government to have an appropriate reaction not only to the mentioned incident, but also to recent violent actions and the facts of obstructing journalists’ professional activities.
•We call on the law enforcement agencies to give proper qualification to the incident and treat it under the article of criminal code (article 154), which deals with the cases of obstruction of journalists’ professional activities.
•We call on the Prime Minister of Georgia, who leads the Coordination Council for Human Rights Action Plan and whose mandate involves preventing the facts of obstruction of journalists’ professional activities, to make this mechanism more effective and efficiently oversee the investigation related to the June 19 incident, as well as other media-related cases.