As Georgia prepares for parliamentary elections on 31 October, the media situation and media freedom remain in focus and civil society continues to monitor any violations of press freedom. 

Expression

Georgia's president condemns Russian misinformation

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili stated on 8 September that "Russian fake news continues to spread disinformation and to sow distrust between Georgia and its Western partners". The statement was made in connection to an article in the Russian press claiming that Georgia benefits from provocations with Russia. 

Authorities in Tbilisi have previously condemned cases of misinformation and alleged attempts by Russian authorities to disrupt dialogue between Georgia and its European partners.

Two TV stations warned

Georgia's Communications Commission warned two politically-affiliated TV stations of violating election-related regulations. According to the Commission, Media Union Obiektivi and Girchi TV placed election-related advertisements on their programmes before the official launch of the election campaign. According to reports, Obiektivi TV was founded by Irma Inashvili, leader of the Alliance of Patriots Party. Girchi-TV is affiliated with a Georgian right-libertarian party.

Ombudsman condemns threats against journalists

On 8 September, Georgia's Ombudsman condemned a verbal assault made my protesters on journalists and the owner of a local radio station Pankisi in the village of Duisi and called on the Ministry of Interior to investigate the case. Due to the threats, the radio station had cancelled an upcoming reporting trip. The Ombudsman stated that the threats made against the journalists were a violation of freedom of expression and represented an "obstruction of their professional activity".

Peaceful Assembly

Protests against COVID-related restrictions

In July, coaches, athletes, and gym owners protested COVID-related restrictions on their operations and activities. Many had lost work and called on the government to lift or revise the restrictions.  

Marches in solidarity with Belarus

In August, several solidarity marches were organised in the capital Tbilisi in solidarity with protesters in Belarus. The organisers, several Georgian NGOs, called on the Georgian government to offer support to the people of Belarus, as the country has been enveloped in mass demonstrators since early August.