Georgian civil society organizations have expressed concern over the decision of the Ukrainian border officials to deny entry to Georgian journalists, who arrived in Kyiv to cover the developments involving Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The Coalition for Media Advocacy, which unites thirteen leading civil society organizations, said in its statement on December 6 that it was “unacceptable” to restrict the work of the media outlets, and added that the Ukrainian authorities “should treat responsibly the interest of the public - to receive information from the center of developments.”
Another local civil society organization, the Media Institute, released a statement on December 7, saying the decision to deny entry to Georgian journalists was “alarming,” and amounted to “deliberate obstruction of the work of the journalists.”
The CSO protests comes after three media crews were denied entry in the Boryspil International Airport, among them journalists of Rustavi 2 TV, TV Pirveli and the Georgian Public Broadcaster. The journalists said that they were interviewed by the Ukrainian border officers and were refused entry into the country, citing failure to explain the purpose of their visits.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry commented on the issue on December 6, saying that the Georgian Embassy and the Consulate had communicated through diplomatic channels with the Ukrainian authorities. “The Ukrainian side has explained that the restrictions on entering Ukraine is due to the security situation in the country,” the Ministry added.
This is not the first time Georgian journalists were banned from entering Ukraine. Eight Georgian citizens, including a cameraman of Rustavi 2 TV, were deported from Ukraine on November 17. Earlier, on October 27, Rustavi 2 TV’s Tengo Gogitishvili was also banned from entering Ukraine.
In a previous development, on October 15, UNM MP Koba Nakopia was not allowed to enter Ukraine. On November 11, an employee of the Special State Protection Service of Georgia, who was accompanying Saakashvili’s younger son Nikoloz, was also banned from entering the country.