Georgian Public Broadcaster fires anchor for excessive use of social media

Journalist Irakli Absandze says that he was dismissed because of his Facebook posts critical of the government. Photo:Tako Dolaberidze., 11 Aug 2021 - 11:46, Tbilisi,Georgia

Anchor of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) Irakli Absandze has been dismissed from his job ‘for the violation of the channel’s code of conduct,’ particularly stipulations which regulate the use of social media by the GPB’s journalists. 

Absandze says that his dismissal is connected with his Facebook posts critical of the government for the latter’s reaction during the July rallies of journalists in Tbilisi. 

The rallies were sparked after right-wing activities attacked journalists during Tbilisi Pride events on July 5 and the death of a beaten cameraman Lekso Lashkarava several days after the incident. 

Journalists stated that the government failed to protect journalists during the Tbilisi Pride events and allowed right-wing activists to attack them and others. 

Absandze was detained at a rally in front of the ruling party head office in central Tbilisi on July 12 and was released two hours later. 

Absandze said that the police broke his hand during detention. 

On July 14 he was operated on and nine stitches were placed on his hand. Absandze said on July 31 that it was a complicated surgery and that the rehabilitation process of the broken hand will take six months.

The anchor states that his show, the Sunday Interview, was also critical of the government and said that ‘there are attempts to close critical shows on the TV channels which are somehow under governmental control.’

Absandze has plans to bring a lawsuit against the Georgian Public Broadcaster for his dismissal.

The Georgian Public Broadcaster receives annual state funding which stood at  63 million GEL (21 million USD) last year.