DRI: Restricting the media to access the villages near the occupied territories is unjustified
The Democracy Research Institute responds to the recent cases of restriction of media by the Central Government of Georgia to access the Kaspi, Gori, Kareli and Khashuri municipalities’ villages near the dividing occupation line.

On March 4, 2020, due to tightened control at the occupation line, media representatives were not allowed to enter the forest near the Chorchana village checkpoint. [1] On February 6, 2020, the only village near the dividing line that was accessible to journalists was closed. The police post now is located at the Meghvrekisi crossing, which prevents entry not only in Ergneti but in Meghvrekisi village as well. [2] On February 27, Police did not allow journalists to enter the village Kere located near the occupation line. [3]

While the matter is a major issue in the country and personal freedom, freedom of movement and property rights together with the social and cultural rights are violated on a systematic bases and the humanitarian environment is severely deteriorated – distancing the media from these processes is unacceptable.

The established practice which involves the Ministry of Internal Affairs representatives to “take” the journalists to the new poles and fences already drawn by the occupation forces, leads to the fact that society sees only a small fragment of the situation that damages the public interest to be fully informed about the current state of the country. Therefore, such practices can be assessed as counterproductive.

The state agencies should be aware that full coverage of the processes at the occupation line is essential for showing a realistic picture of the conflict and it also assists the state in the process of providing the international community with comprehensive information on the current situation.

According to the Democracy Research Institute, due to the special needs of the population living in the conflict-affected areas, supporting the media to have access, promotes increased public solidarity, reduces insecurity, positively impacts the positioning of the state in international and national information space and ensures the realization of the right to receive and distribute information.

Thus, the Democracy Research Institute calls on the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to develop a mechanism which on the one hand will ensure the safety of journalists and on the other hand, will enable them to freely pursue their professional activities when covering the creeping occupation issues.

[1] TV Pirveli , "Tighter control at the occupation line", 05.03.2020, available at:
[2] Shida Kartli Information Centre, “The police moved the post to Meghvrekisi against the journalists”, 06.02.2020, available at:
 [3] Goga Aptsiauri, “Locked conflict zone”, Radio Liberty, 27.01.2020, available at: