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Self Regulation Practice

MDF, GDI, TDI და EMC vs Nanuka Show

Complaint: TheprogramNanuka’s Showof Rustavi 2 TV company aired on 26 November 2014 contained discriminatory expressions toward Jehovah’s Witnesses. Apart from repeated references to Jehovah’s Witnesses in a negative light, the presenter of the program Nanuka Zhorzholiani expressed her personal attitude in assessing the change of faith by a guest of the program - which is a matter of individual choice - as a positive development (‘I am afraid of them [Jehovah’s Witnesses]… It is good that you abandoned them’),”.

on December 1, 2014 the Media Development Foundation (MDF), the Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI), the Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI), and the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) filed a complaint with the self-regulatory body of Rustavi 2 TV company, requiring to consider violations of provisions of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters in the programNanuka’s Show.

The complainants argued that the program violated the Article 17.2 of the Code which sets forth requirements for presenters of authored programs. The authors of the complaint also believed that the program breached the principle of fair treatment (Article 21): "when a respondent uses media for attacking another person or group, the presenter should not only refrain from further inciting negative sentiments and unconditionally agreeing to respondent’s attitudes, but should challenge him/her, especially when it concerns a vulnerable group and even more so, refers to a minor in this context.”

The non-governmental organizations also asked Rustavi 2’s self-regulatory body for considering the breaches of Articles 31, 32 and 33 of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters, which regulate issues of diversity, equality and tolerance and aim at preventing media from building stereotypes and encouraging intolerance towards people with different identities.

The authors of the complaint welcomed the fact of Rustavi 2 management apologizing for the incident in the program, which indicated about an accountable approach of the company; however, they noted that "it is important to consider this case on the basis of Code of Conduct for Broadcasters within the self-regulation format and to become fully aware of the company’s responsibility in order to prevent such incidents in future from being perceived as accidental mistakes alone and something that independent studios bear responsibility for.”

Since the requirements ofthe Codeof Conduct for Broadcasters, according to Article 1.3 of the document, shall be observed by a broadcaster, not an outside entity producing content for the broadcaster, the non-governmental organizations recommended Rustavi 2 TV company "to incorporate the obligation to observe requirements of the Code in the contracts entered into with independent studios whom they outsource programs in order to facilitate the efficient implementation of the Code of Conduct and avoid such incidents in future.”

Decision: On March 13, 2014 Rustavi 2 TV Channel self-regulatory body satisfied the complaint.

Motivation: theself-regulatory body considered the statements made regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses by the anchor of the programNanuka’s Show, as a violation of the Code of Conduct and addressed to the producer and author of the program Nanuka Zhorzholiani with a complaint letter.

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