Georgian cameraman Lekso Lashkarava included in UNESCO list of journalists killed in 2021
UNESCO included Lekso Lashkarava in the list of killed journalists
Lekso Lashkarava, a cameraman of the Georgian TV Pirveli, who died a few days after he was beaten by protesters against the LGBT Pride on July 5, 2021, has been included to the UNESCO list of journalists killed in 2021. The list is available on the organization’s website. The data is displayed on the organization’s website.
What happened on July 5
On July 5, 2021, the March of Dignity was to be held in Tbilisi within the framework of Tbilisi Pride Week. The march to the Rustaveli metro was scheduled for 18:00. However, the church soon announced the beginning of its own counter-rally. It urged its supporters to take to the streets and defend the country from “perverse lifestyles”.
On the morning of July 5, homophobic groups marched towards parliament. First, they smashed the opposition tents, which had stood in front of the parliament building for months, and then attacked the journalists who came to cover the event. On July 5, a real hunt for media representatives was going on in Tbilisi – 53 journalists were attacked by radicals.
- Media hunted: Over twenty reporters injured during anti-Pride rally in Tbilisi
- The history of Georgia’s LGBT+ community’s struggle for equal rights and non-discrimination
According to observers, the actions of the criminals were provoked by a statement by Prime Minister Garibashvili. On 5 July, he accused the organizers of the March of Dignity (not the participants in the violent rally) of the possible complication of the situation in the country.
Journalists later stated that not enough police officers were mobilized on the spot during the day. Violent protesters attacked cameraman Lekso Lashkarava and his colleague, TV Pirveli journalist Miranda Bagaturia in the office of the Shame organization.
According to Bagaturia, Lashkarava was beaten by 20 people. Eyewitnesses say that there were also clergymen among the criminals. On July 11, Lashkarava’s mother found Lashkarava dead in his own bed.
Soon after the young operator’s death, government-linked websites began spreading information about Lashkarava being addicted to drugs and dying of an overdose.
In the evening of the same day, July 11, a briefing was held at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, at which the department began to spread a similar version that Lashkarava was “under the influence”. Journalists and civil society representatives do not believe this.