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Self Regulation Practice

MDF, Georgian Muslims Union, EMC, TDI vs. Rustavi 2

Complaint: On 26 October, 2014 Rustavi 2 TV program ‘P.S.’ covered the controversial issue of religious building in village Mokhe of Adigeni district. Media Development Foundation, Georgian Muslims Union,Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, and Tolerance and Diversity Institutebelieved that the coverage violated several articles of Code of Conduct of Broadcasters.

According to NGOs, the program anchor David Kikalishvili,while presenting the story on the religious building in village Mokhe,violated the principle of impartiality when he expressed his own personal attitude to the viewers before the story itself was aired("I think, in this particular conflict in Mokhe it is the Muslim community that is wrong, because there are more mosques around the controversial building than there are churches”). So did the question asked by a journalist to one of the Muslim respondents- „And is it really necessary for you to pray particularly in this place?"

NGOs believed that the freedom of religion, just like the freedom of choice where to pray, was a fundamental human right, which was beyond discretion of a journalist.

Nongovernmental and religious organizations thought that the program anchorviolated the requirements to authored programmes of the Code of Conduct of Broadcasters (Article 17.2) according to which, "presenters of authored programmes should not use their position to report opinions in a way that may violate the impartiality of the programme”. In that case also was violated Article 33.1 of the Broadcasters Code of Conduct,since the program anchor unfoundedly connected the issue of the rights of the Muslim Georgian citizens to troubles.

Media Development Foundation, along with Georgian Muslims Union,Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, and Tolerance and Diversity Institute filed a complaint to Rustavi 2 self-regulation agency on 3 November. The organizations called on the self-regulation agency to discuss the violation of Articles 16.2,16.4, 17.2, 31.1, 31.2, 33.1of the Broadcasters Code of Conduct.

Decision: The complaint was not satisfied by self-regulation agency.

Motivation: According to self-regulation agency the compliant was not satisfied as it lacked legal Justification. The broadcasters decided that the complaint should not be remained without a response and made a decision to consider it as the recommendation.


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