"We fight for Mtavari" - hundreds of journalists gather in Tbilisi to support opposition TV channel
Rally in support of Mtavari TV channel
“Solidarity with Mtavari”, “Georgia’s European choice is in danger”, “The government is fighting the media”, “Freedom to Nika” – with these banners, hundreds of people gathered at the Republic Square in Tbilisi to support the country’s most popular opposition Mtavari TV channel.
Protesters, including journalists, opposition politicians and ordinary citizens, first marched from Republic Square to Parliament and then to the Mtavari channel office. They claimed that Nika Gvaramia was a political prisoner and demanded his release.
The rally was organised by the media representatives after the arrest of Nika Gvaramia, the founder of the Mtavari Channel, on May 16.
“Without you, our existence is meaningless, we’re not going to live in a cell, we’re supposed to live in a free world” , with the words, acting general director of the Mtavari TV channel, Giorgi Gabunia, addressed the supporters gathered in front of the channel’s office.
“Today, when the window of opportunity opens, the arrest of a critical media owner is a retreat from decades of struggle and hard work on the possibility of European integration and a return to Russia”, said the rally organizers.
The General Director of the Main Channel was arrested in the courtroom. The head of the opposition media was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for using a company car for family needs.
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Experts also local and International NGOs consider Gvaramia’s arrest to be politically motivated.