Tea Topuria | Institute for War and Peace Reporting
I was born in Sukhumi, Georgia in October 26, 1977 and lived there until the outbreak of war in 1992. My parents and close relatives are maths teachers. I am the only person in family who loves writing.
In 1992, my family moved from Sukhumi to Tbilisi. In 1998, I graduated from the faculty of journalism at Tbilisi state university. I chose this profession for several reasons. First of all, I had good writing skills and was very interested in political and social issues – subjects I was drawn to because as a youth I witness the collapse of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s emergence as an independent country.
I worked for a number of different media organisations over the past ten years or so, and have reported on a whole range of sensitive issues arising from Georgia’s instability.
Georgia is a developing country, which became independent in 1991 but then experienced conflicts in Tbilisi, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and a war with Russia. It has also struggled to implement reforms and has been criticised for its human rights record.
Georgian journalists have reported on all these developments. The topics my articles have focused on have been corruption, trafficking, new reforms, falsification of elections, violation of the rights of minorities, children and torture in prisons. Many of these articles were the result of journalistic investigations.
I have also taken an interest in conflict resolution and social and environmental stories and I enjoy travelling around the country interviewing people for these pieces.
Over the past few years, I have attended a number of journalism training courses and gained important reporting skills.
For the moment, I work as a freelance and contribute regularly to the IWPR’s Caucasus Reporting Service. One of the best stories I wrote for IWPR was about the neglect of victims of natural disasters in Georgia. After the article was published, IWPR campaigned to get the authorities to do something for the victims.
Working with IWPR has significantly improved my reporting skills and knowledge of international journalism standards. It has also encouraged me to research and develop stories around problems that are not widely covered by media, but are very relevant nonetheless. Reporting on such problems may attract the attention of authorities and decision-makers, who can address them.