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Telavi Administration Begins Physically Assaulting Journalists

02.02.2006

Telavi Administration Begins Physically Assaulting Journalists
  

On January 31, Nikoloz Paradashvili, the head of Telavi administration organizational department, verbally and physically assaulted Roman Kevkhishvili, a journalist from the TV station “Tanamgzavri”, who was forced to leave the administration building.

On Fabruary 1,  Roman Kevkhishvili held a press conference concerning the January 31 incident. Kevkhishvili stated to representatives of the media and NGOs that he was verbally and physically assaulted by Nikoloz Paradashvili, the head of Telavi administration organizational department.

According to Kevkhishvili, he constantly experiences pressure from administration staff.
The journalist recalled the incidents that took place before January 31: “A week ago, Nikoloz Faradashvili threatened to break my camera if I entered the administration building again. Nevertheless, I went there in order to fulfill my professional obligation and you can see the results. Paradahsvili did not manage to break the camera but managed to beat me…”

Lela Taliuri, the head of the Young Lawyers Association Telavi Office, condemned these actions and noted: “We should condemn the fact that the journalists are hindered by the authorities.  Even worse, they now experience physical assaults.  Cases such as this must cease to happen so long as our country has pretensions of being democratic”.

Nikoloz Paradashvili, the head of Telavi administration organizational department rejects the fact that journalists were beaten and adds that Keckhishvilis accusations are “blatant lies”. Paradashvili assured that he tries hard to create and maintain friendly relations between the administration and the media, thus, he is seeking “mediators”.

Despite the fact that various cases of pressure on journalists have taken place in Kakheti, the local government is still heading in the same direction and those responsible for rights violations have yet to be held to account.

Veriko Kobiashvili, Telavi

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