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Self Regulation Practice

Gata, MDF, GDI and TDI vs. Spektri

Complaint: On 14 May, 2014 during the TV show Spektri of Kavkasia TV company, David Akubardia the anchor of the program made thexenophobic statements supporting of the segregation of the citizens of Georgia by ethnic and geographic identity.

David Akubardia, anchor:"This city [Rustavi] will become an Azeri one in 15-20 years unless we save it... Rustavi must be saved as a Georgian city and this is not my idea, it's Stalin's idea...

This is an awkward topic, a gradual annexation, they advance slowly, this city holds them, otherwise we would have a border with another country near Ortachala... The population is decreased by half, and those who bought apartments at the first floors [in Rustavi] all have apartments in Baku...

There is economic discrimination of the Georgians... Two Azerbaijani banks give credits to the Azeris only to purchase apartments... They oppress the Georgians and it causes decrease of Georgians there... From that begins the loss of territories, that was it - the principle of actual population - Kakhi, Belakani, Zakatala, look at the May 1920 agreement with Russia. They recognized that as the territory of Georgia. Then they claimed the principle of actual population and took those territories away. And in the same way they will take Rustavi too if we don't wake up."

On 22 May Azeri Students Association of Georgia "Gata", Media Development Foundation (MDF), Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI) and Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) addressed the self-regulatory body of Kavkasia TV Channel.

The authors of the complaint argued that the anchor violated Article 31 of the Code of Conduct of Broadcasters, since his statements stirred hatred and intolerance based on ethnic affiliation of Azeri citizens of Georgia, as well as based on geographical origin of ethnic Azerbaijanians living in Rustavi.Also made disputable the violation of Article 33.1 of the Code, according to which "broadcasters should avoid drawing unjustified parallels between ethnic or religious origin and negative events, including associating activities of specific individuals with the entire group."

According to complainants David Akubardia offered the viewers a number of factual justifications (i.e. Azerbaijani banks giving credits just on a bases of an ethnic origin) without naming either open or close source, or any other evidence, which is important to ensure due accuracy and avoiding misleading of audience.

The Code of Conduct (Article 17.2) also obliges presenters of authored programmes not use their position to report opinions in a way that may violate the impartiality of the programme.

Decision: the self-regulatory body of Kavkasia TV Channel refused to consider the complaint.

Appeal: On June 23, due to the fact that the broadcaster did not consider the case during 21 days nor provided the transparent and fair procedure for complaint consideration, NGOs addressed to Self-Regulatory Appeals Commission of Kavkasia TV with the request to discuss complaint filed on 22 May as well as to review the issue of violation of procedure for complaint consideration defined by Broadcaster Code.

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