15 May 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 05 Mar 2020 n° 25/2020 Georgia

Several Journalists Sacked Due to Political Pressure on Public Channel Adjara TV

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner RSF
No state reply yet
Partner RSF
On 28 February 2020, Shorena Glonti was relieved of her duties as the head of Adjara TV's newsroom, a regional public TV channel. On 19 February, the deputy head of newsroom, Maia Merkviladze, was also dismissed. Both were key figures in maintaining independent editorial policy. On 2 February, ex-deputy director Natia Zoidze explained she had to resign under political pressure.

Journalists have protested several times since the Board of Advisors, in which 3 members out of 4 were nominated by the ruling Georgian Dream party, elected Giorgi Kokhreidze as the new director of the broadcaster on 22 November 2019. The staff denounce persistent attempts to change the TV channel’s editorial line. Some of them recently created an “alternative” trade union and are preparing to strike in defense of their editorial independence, should negotiations to put an end to state interference fail.

RSF is concerned by the increasing control over the media in Georgia and calls on the authorities to respect the editorial independence of Adjara TV's newsroom.
Updates
15 May 2020
Malkhaz Rekhviashvili, host of a talk show, “Hashtag”, and head of Alternative Trade Union of Adjara TV, was fired on 11 May 2020 by director Giorgi Kokhreidze, who accused him of “spreading slanderous and damaging information.” The journalist wrote a Facebook post on April 21 to criticize an “unfair and groundless disciplinary persecution” by the director against Teona Turmanidze, anchor of Adjara TV’s newscast. Teona Turmanidze was suspended from anchoring the program on April 21 after she had openly criticized on Facebook Kokhreidze’s policy of staff changes.
11 May 2020
Malkhaz Rekhviashvili, host of a talk show, “Hashtag”, and head of Alternative Trade Union of Adjara TV, was fired on May 11 by director Giorgi Kokhreidze, who accused him of “spreading slanderous and damaging information.” The journalist wrote a Facebook post on April 21 to criticize an “unfair and groundless disciplinary persecution” by the director against Teona Turmanidze, anchor of Adjara TV’s newscast. Teona Turmanidze was suspended from anchoring the program on April 21 after she had openly criticized on Facebook Kokhreidze’s policy of staff changes.
09 Mar 2020
Teona Bakuridze, journalist for Adjara TV, who has been vocal against the attempts by the new leadership to change its independent editorial policy, has been fired from the TV channel on 13 March 2020. She had been suspended since March 6.
Open in a new window show-link