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Georgian journalist leaves pro-government TV after being asked to ‘incite violence’

18 June 2024
Tamar Sharikadze. Photo via Facebook.

Journalist Tamar Sharikadze has left pro-government TV channel Imedi after refusing to prepare content that ‘encouraged violence’.

Sharikadze announced her resignation from Imedi on Monday.

‘I believed and still believe that I will never encourage violence anywhere!’ she wrote on Facebook. ‘I will never be a signatory to such unverified facts that promote violence!’

In her post, she also thanked her colleagues in the news programme Kronika for supporting her with ‘dignity because they also agree with me’. Sharikadze did not name her colleagues in her post.

Imedi has been accused of biased reporting and spreading disinformation as the ruling Georgian Dream party adopted the foreign agent law.

In an article published by Imedi, Kronika’s head of news, Natia Songhulashvili, criticised Sharikadze’s resignation, stating that there was no place in Imedi for people who refuse to criticise or call the opposition violent.

‘It is unfortunate that she decided to promote herself for a new job by insulting her former teammates’, she said.


Kronika producer, Keti Latsabidze, also criticised Sharikadze, saying that ‘telling the truth is not encouraging [violence]’.

‘Everyone condemns violence. You should not look for an excuse for another job. Turning the issue into a heroic pattern is more like a comedy’, she said.

On Tuesday, local watchdog Mediachecker reported, that another journalist at Imedi, Tiko Peikrishvili, had left the channel on 1 June, without specifying the reason for her decision.

Sharikadze is not the first to leave Imedi since the government re-introduced the foreign agent law earlier this year. The channel has actively promoted the legislation as well as condemning its critics.

In early May, Mediachecker reported that at least three Imedi anchors — Zurab Balanchivadze, Natia Orvelashvili, and Ekaterine Amirejibi — had left Imedi. They reported that more were also planning to leave the pro-government channel.

Sharikadze’s and Peikrishvili’s resignations come as Imedi has ramped up its promotion of new legislation demonising queer people. It also came as government critics have continued to be targeted by a series of coordinated attacks in the streets and outside their homes. 

[Read more: Beatings, harassment, and no arrests: Georgian Government critics under attack]

Politicians, activists, foreign agent law protesters, civil society organisations, and journalists have also reported receiving threatening calls and having their homes and offices vandalised for their opposition to the foreign agent law.

Georgia’s foreign agent law would label any civil society or media organisation that received at least 20% of its funding from outside Georgia ‘organisations carrying out the interests of a foreign power’. Such organisations would be subject to ‘monitoring’ by the Ministry of Justice every six months, which lawyers have warned could include forcing them to hand over internal communications and confidential sources. Organisations that do not comply would be subject to large fines.

Right now, online media in Georgia is in dire need of safety equipment, legal support, and technology as we cover increasingly challenging circumstances. Support small, independent media outlets in Georgia via our collective fundraiser.

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