May 20, 2024

20.04.2024 – Journalists Assaulted and Equipment Seized by Police During Protests in Tbilisi, Georgia

On 14 May 2024, during protests near the Parliament of Georgia in Tbilisi, law enforcement officers allegedly physically assaulted photojournalist Giorgi Zhamerashvili from ( and seized the camera belonging to Saba Sordia, a journalist for Indigo ( The protests were in response to the Members of Parliament voting for and passing the controversial foreign agent law in its third reading.

According to, Zhamerashvili was covering the situation on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi when he was allegedly struck in the leg with a baton by a riot police officer. This assault occurred as the police were using force to disperse the protesters from the area surrounding the parliament, including Rustaveli Avenue.

In a separate incident on the same day, Saba Sordia reported that allegedly a police officer forcibly took his camera while he was documenting the anti-Russian demonstration on Rustaveli Avenue. Sordia, who was standing near the main entrance of the Parliament, explained that despite identifying himself as a journalist and showing his press helmet, the officer did not return the camera. Sordia immediately contacted the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ press office and filed a report with the police, who recorded the incident. However, hours later, his camera had not been returned.

Sordia mentioned that the camera was recording at the time it was seized, and he expressed concerns that the footage of the seizure might be deleted if the camera is returned.

These incidents highlight the ongoing challenges journalists face in Georgia, particularly when covering politically sensitive events. The actions against Zhamerashvili and Sordia represent significant breaches of press freedom and underscore the need for greater protection for journalists operating in the country.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns the assaults on photojournalist Giorgi Zhamerashvili and journalist Saba Sordia by police during the protest. This violent acts against a journalists performing their professional duties is a blatant violation of press freedom and the right to report. SEEMO calls on the Georgian authorities to investigate this incident thoroughly and ensure that those responsible are held accountable, while also urging them to respect and protect the rights of journalists to operate without fear of violence or retribution.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

#fyp #mediafreedom #seemo #freespeech #southeasteuropemediaorganisation #ngo #journalist #georgia #tbilisi #GiorgiZhamerashvili #SabaSordia #Indigo#SEEMO #pressfreedom #mediafreedom#journalistattacked