(Read the full piece on cpj.org)
Georgian authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the recent attack on journalists Nino Kekelia and Irakli Kvaratskhelia, find the perpetrators, and ensure that the press can work freely and safely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On May 4, a group of unidentified men attacked and harassed Kekelia, a reporter with the pro-opposition Georgian broadcaster Mtavari Arkhi, and Kvaratskhelia, a camera operator with the broadcaster, while they were reporting in the eastern village of Udabno, according to news reports as well as Kekelia and Mtavari Arkhi director and lawyer Tamta Muradashvili, both of whom spoke with CPJ in a phone interview. Nino Kekelia broadcasts using the name Ninutsa Kekelia, she told CPJ.
“Georgian authorities should take the attack on journalists Nino Kekelia and Irakli Kvaratskhelia seriously, thoroughly investigate the incident, and ensure that the perpetrators are found and held responsible,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “It is essential that journalists in Georgia can report on important political developments freely and without fear, and it is the job of the authorities to ensure their safety.”
Kekelia and Kvaratskhelia were in Udabno, a disputed border area between Georgia and Azerbaijan, to record an interview with Iveri Melashvili, a cartographer, according to Kekelia and those reports.