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Compliant: The program "From a Different Perspective" of ImediTV company aired a report "Children Sent to Madrasa" on December 25, 2014. In the report the journalist explained the decision of parents to send their children to the Muslim school bysocial disadvantage, not by religious belief.
Three non-governmental organizations filed acomplaintwith the ImediTV self-regulatory body regarding a report on December 31 with request to study the fact of breaching of five Articles(14.9, 18.2, 33.1 - 2, 44.1, 47.11) of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters by the TV company.
The complainants argued that the report was drawing "unjustified parallels between ethnic or religious origin and negative events" (Article 33.1), making "inaccurate and misleading statements regarding minorities and their social problems" (Article 33.2) and creating stereotypes.
In addition to the discrimination on the religious grounds, the authors of the complaint also underlined the violation of the rights of children, manifested in using underage children for illustrating the social problem. "In the beginning of the report the journalist shows 13-year-old Goderdzi and Jemali as the example to illustrate the problem. The faces of neither these two nor other children of boarding school, considered by the journalist as been sent to Madrasa because of social disadvantage, are not covered", - the complaint noted.
The complainants argued that the report violated Article 47 (11) of Code of Conduct for Broadcaster: " Broadcasters should not broadcast such programmes or include material in programmes that may harm minors’ socialization", as well as Article 44 (1) which stated that " While respecting a child’s right to freedom of information and expression, broadcasters shall ensure physical, psychological and emotional welfare of minors involved in programmes irrespective of any consent given by a parent, guardian or carer while respecting their rights to freedom of expression and freedom to receive information".
The authors of the complaint also believed that the principles of accuracy and impartiality had been violated in the report as the comment of the Director of Social Welfare Program of UNICEF about the problems of "children with the profound and severe disabilities" had been cited in an entirely different context by the journalist, unjustifiably linking it to the topic of particular religious boarding school.
"The journalist's evaluations exclusively related to Muslim boarding schools, while similar institutions were operating under the aegis of other religious denominations too", - complaint noted referring to Article 18.2 which states that"The programme or report will be considered biased if it lacks comprehensive information on important facts, is based on minor facts, misleads the audience intentionally or unintentionally, or conveys biased views of a person in a hidden form".
Decision: On January 8, 2015, Complaint Review Commission refused to consider NGOs' complaint due to violation of complaint filing terms.
Appeal: On January 14 the refusal of Complaint Review Commission was appealed to the Appeal Commission of ImediTV self-regulatory body.
Decision of Appeal Commission: On February 14, Appeal Commission of Imedi TV self-regulatory body partially satisfied the complaint.
Motivation: Appeal Commission of Imed iTV self-regulatory body annulled the decision made by Complaint Review Commission on January 8, 2015, according to which the NGOs were rejected from considering their compliant due to violation of complaint filing terms. The Appeal Commission stated that the complaint had been filed within the terms established by the legislation (10 days), and therefore annulled the decision.
Although the Commission did not consider the authors of appeal as the interested parties, and did not hold consideration into the case, in the resolution part, Commission ordered the TV company administration to ensure providing the editorial team with the disputable case materials and elaborate recommendations in order to prevent further violations. In the motivation part, Commission called on the editorial team of the program to consider the disputable report in detail, in accordance with observing the rights of children, principles of accuracy, diversity, equality and tolerance and basic guidelines for avoiding any forms of discrimination in the future.