Georgia denies entry to Russian TV Dozhd journalist fleeing abroad amid crackdown on media
Dozhd journalist denied entry to Georgia
Mikhail Fishman, a journalist of the Russian opposition Dozhd channel, shared the details of his unsuccessful trip to Georgia on March 5. He was denied entry to the country and sent back from Tbilisi International Airport.
The journalist was traveling with his family; his daughter and relatives were waiting for him in Tbilisi. At the border, Fishman was not given reasons for the refusal.
“I flew to Georgia with my two daughters – the middle one, who is 16 years old, was let in, the youngest was also let in, and I was told to stay at the window. Well, of course, the youngest didn’t go without me, she stayed with me. And then I was asked a few questions: how long am I going to stay there, what is the purpose of my visit? And then they said, “Wait here”.
I waited for about an hour, then a border guard officer came out and said that I was denied entry to Georgia, and I can appeal this decision within 10 days, but he will not tell me the reasons. My daughter and I were seen off and put on the plane, and the crew had our passports, I received them upon arrival. I tried to find out what the matter was, but they didn’t tell me”б Fishman told the Georgian service of Radio Liberty.
Fishman is the author of the weekly program “And so on with Mikhail Fishman”, which has been airing since 2012. In his program, the presenter criticized the actions of the Russian authorities.
On February 2, Dozhd’s management announced that the channel was temporarily suspending its work. The reason was the new Russian law, according to which for the dissemination of “false information about the armed forces of Russia” and, in particular, about the so-called. “special military operation” in Ukraine journalists could face up to 15 years in prison.
“I have nothing else to link it with, it’s obvious that they didn’t let me in precisely because I am a well-known journalist in Russia …
What can I say? This is an internal affair of Georgia. This is a demonstration of their attitude towards independent Russian journalism, which is now experiencing risks that it has never experienced before. Today, this is already the ultimate degree, and the Georgian state has shown how it relates to this, it seems to me”, Fishman said.
The Georgian authorities do not comment on this case.
Who was also denied entry to Georgia
In recent months, many critics of the Kremlin from Russia and other countries have been denied entry to Georgia without explanation.
Thus, on January 31, Russian opposition leader Dmitry Gudkov was not allowed into Georgia.
Prior to this, Russian opposition politician Lyubov Sobol and journalist Ilya Azar, as well as Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon, were not allowed into Georgia.
In addition, several representatives of Russian opposition parties, who are not engaged in public activities and whose names are not known to the general public, were not allowed into Georgia without explanation.
Neither the law enforcement agencies nor the government of Georgia give any comments on this matter.