Public Defender Responds to Assault on Tabula TV Journalists
According to reports, Tabula TV journalists Irakli Kiknavelidze, Nino Macharashvili, Levan Sutidze and former employee of the TV company Avto Koridze were assaulted by three individuals at a restaurant on January 12, 2016. The assaulters abused the journalists both physically and verbally, broke the restaurant equipments and escaped. According to journalists, their professional activities and criticism of the Orthodox Church were named as the motive for the assault. As far as we are aware, an investigation was launched under article 125 of the Criminal Code, pertaining to beating.
The Public Defender condemns all forms of violence, including violence against journalists due to their professional activities, which is particularly alarming. The role of freedom of expression and free media is invaluable in building inclusive, informed societies and democracy, as well as in establishing effective governance. It is necessary to conduct a prompt and effective investigation into the above-mentioned fact and to properly punish offenders in order to prevent recurrence of violence in the future. During the investigation, special attention should be paid to proper evaluation of the hate motive. The Public Defender of Georgia will personally observe the investigation and will periodically provide relevant information to the public.