The Union of Journalists of Abkhazia expressed alarm in a statement on November 24 on the “increasing incidence of interference” by occupied Abkhazia’s de facto executive authorities in state media activities that “grossly violate the current legislation.”
The Union mentioned a recent gathering of the Social and Political Forces of Abkhazia on November 23 as an egregious instance of “such censorship,” with journalists conspicuously missing out. They said, “we know from credible sources that media outlets were told not to attend or cover the event.
The Union highlighted that this occurrence not only limits the activities of editorial offices, but also violates “the rights of citizens to receive prompt, reliable information through the media on the activities of public associations.”
The Union of Journalists noted the criminal, administrative, and disciplinary penalties for violating press freedom, that is, for preventing in any way by public servants the legitimate operations of media organizations as well as journalists.
The Union proposed an immediate response to the fact of a breach of the law and to the action intended to impose censorship in the state media in an official letter to the so-called president of occupied Abkhazia, the “speaker of the national assembly,” and the “prosecutor general.”
“Freedom of speech is a national treasure of the independent Republic of Abkhazia, enshrined in the Constitution of our country, and under no circumstances can infringement of the rights and freedoms of citizens, journalists and media outlets be allowed,” the Union underlined.