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Self Regulation Practice

CIF, MDF, TDI, EMC vs. Kavkasia

Complaint: In Spektritalk show of Kavkasia TV company aired on December 26, 2014 the anchor of the program David Akubardia made discriminative statements, inciting hatred against Muslim citizens of Georgia.

Davit Akubardia: "Shah Abbas was a madman for Georgia. He killed 6000 clergymen in David Gareji, and when? On the Christmas eve...A well-known story is that they cut the heads of 30 000 Lazs… They brought an army of 50 thousand to the gorge saying they would kill those who don’t embrace Islam.And they killed them. I am sorry, while we are giving them all those mosques, did any Turkish official apologize to Georgia about those 30 thousand Lazs?...Or did any of our Iranian brothers and historical neighbors apologize for cutting the throats of 6000 clergymen?...For some reason they demand tolerance from these cowards Christians. Is this message coming from there?".

Civil Integration Foundation (CIF), Media Development Foundation (MDF), Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) and Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) filed a complaint with theKavkasiaTV self-regulatory body on January 6, 2015.

Complainants argued that anchor of theprogram made unjustified historical contextualization of the right of utilizing the places of worship in modern days which stirs hatred and intolerance on the religiousgrounds against Georgian Muslims and violates Article 31 of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters. Non-governmental Organizations point outthat additional 4 Articles(3, 17, 32and33) of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters were breached drawing unjustified parallels between religious origin and negative events, inciting hatred or intolerance on the grounds of religious convictions, requirements to authored programmes and accommodating interests of various social groups.

Complainants stressed on the fact that "Dichotomy "we” vs. "they” (Davit Akubardia: "We are helping everyone, defending everyone’s rights, they may arrive with buses and we will not able to defend ourselves.”) frequently used by anchor leaved no room for integration of people with different beliefs and opposed to theprinciples of Code of Conduct for Broadcasters (Article 3. b) that oblige broadcasters to accommodate interests of "various social groups regardless of their political affiliation, cultural, ethnic, religious and regional backgrounds, language, age or gender".

Decision: Self-regulatory body did not satisfied the complaint. The written document in that regard dated February 16 was delivered to the Organizations on February 20. The authors of the complaint had no opportunity to attend the hearing.

Motivation: Self-regulatory body refused to discuss the complaint as did not consider the complainants as interested persons or party.

Appeal: NGOs addressed to Self-Regulatory Appeals Commission of Kavkasia TV as they believed that by not allowing them to attend the hearing, also due to the fact that the letter on decision of Self-Regulatory body was delivered with delay, the 9th and 11th Articles of Broadcaster Code of Conduct were violated.

Also, the appellant organizations argued that the self-regulatory body misinterpreted the concept of interested persons or party, They pointed out that the issue related to the areas of public interest, so an individual as well as any person could make it disputable. NGOs demanded considering the violations, which were defined in complaint filed on January 6.




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