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Public Defender Responds to Obstruction of Journalists’ Professional Activities on October 31

The Public Defender’s Office was actively monitoring the parliamentary elections of October 31 within the framework of the authority granted by the legislation of Georgia.

In the second half of the day, reports were spread about the obstruction of journalists’ activities and acts of violence against them. For example, online media (Publika) journalist, Mindia Gabadze, was obstructed while covering the clashes in Gldani polling station No 79, while his phone was damaged;[1] a TV Pirveli journalist was injured during the incident near school No 39;[2] an On.ge journalist was prevented from performing his duties allegedly by a representative of European Georgia, who was carrying a weapon, at polling station No 14 in Marneuli.[3]

According to public information, an investigation has been launched into the actions carried out against Publika journalist Mindia Gabadze under Article 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which pertains to the destruction of an item.

The Public Defender of Georgia condemns the obstruction of professional activities of journalists and violent actions against them. The Public Defender explains that the Criminal Code of Georgia sets a high standard in relation to journalists’ professional activities. Thus, the Public Defender of Georgia calls on the law enforcement agencies to launch an investigation into each incident directed against journalists under Article 154 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which pertains to unlawful obstruction of journalist's professional activities, and to take appropriate measures to identify all persons involved in the incidents. In addition, in order to prevent similar incidents, it is important for the law enforcement agencies to ensure effectively that professional activities of media representatives are carried out smoothly at the polling stations.


[1] See https://rb.gy/7hlvjk

[2] See https://rb.gy/szppyo

[3] See https://rb.gy/kzzju0

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