Amid a growing awareness of Western-style civil rights in Georgia, journalists are wrestling with a thorny question: where is the line between reporting and social activism? A recent tussle in the Georgian capital Tbilisi between police and protesters illustrates the trouble that many have in answering.
Twenty-three-year-old Ani Chankotadze was holding both a camera and a poster on Tbilisi’s central Rustaveli Avenue when policemen dragged her away and pushed her into a vehicle during the rowdy dispersal of a May 1 demonstration for workers’ rights. Chankotadze, a reporter for the privately owned news weekly Liberali, was not at the rally as a journalist, but, rather, as a founding member of Laboratory 1918, a youth group that organized the protest. [Editor’s note: Liberali formerly received funding from the Open Society Georgia Foundation, part of the Open Society Foundations network. EurasiaNet.org operates under the auspices of the New York-based Open Society Foundations, a separate part of that network].
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi.