Georgian media appeals int'l community over death of TV Pirveli cameraman 
Georgian media appeals int'l community over death of TV Pirveli cameraman 

Over seventy Georgian media organizations, including Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), have appealed to the international community following the death of TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava, saying that “cases of violation of the rights of media representatives in Georgia have reached a critical level.”

“Dozens of cases against the media are still uninvestigated. Dozens of cases against the media are not still investigated. The authorities fail to ensure the safety of journalists, while the statements by the officials of the ruling party encourage the violence even more,” the statement reads.

The media organizations stressed that “despite the preliminary calls from the civil sector, the state has not taken appropriate measures to protect the media representatives. Insufficient police forces did not take measures to protect the journalists.”

“Moreover, on July 5, before the start of the government session, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, laid the responsibility not upon the members of the demonstration but the organizers of the “March of Dignity” for the possible complication of the situation and called them not to hold the march on Rustaveli Avenue.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, on July 5, 53 members of the media were injured, including the operator of TV Pirveli – Aleksandre Lashkarava, who was severely beaten by violent groups on July 5. Aleksandre 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 the law enforcement agencies do not respond accordingly. The organizers of the violent demonstration of July 5, whose identities are not known, have not been arrested either,” the statement reads.

Media organizations appeal to the representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations accredited in Georgia to respond immediately and effectively to the purposive persecution of media representatives on Rustaveli Avenue on July 5, the facts of damage to health, obstruction of professional duties, and inaction of the Georgian government.

Rally against violence on journalists is underway in front of the Georgian Parliament. Protesters demand the government’s resignation.

TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava died earlier today after being assaulted by far-right activists on July 5. He was beaten in the Shame Movement office, stormed by anti-Tbilisi Pride members.

Interior Ministry launched a probe into the case under Article 115 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving incitement to suicide.