We would like to express our concern over the fact that on January 17, 2017 First Channel of Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) dedicated its airtime to NGO National-Socialist Movement - National Unity of Georgia, which declares itself a follower of political and economic ideology of Italian National Socialism.
Racist, xenophobic and anti-Western statements were made when unveiling the organizational goals during a TV program Briefing Time. Giorgi Chelidze of National Unity of Georgia portrayed the organization as a follower of political and economic ideology of Italian National Socialism, saying that "three national treasures – Motherland, Language, Faith have been merged with political ideology – Race, Nation, State.” Temur Verulidze, another representative of the same organization, said that the movement "will tolerate traditional, mental or religious ideologies of Georgian citizens belonging to different ethnic groups only if they do not insult Georgian mental ideology.”
These statements contradict the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters. In particular, according to Article 31, "broadcasters shall refrain from publishing any material likely to incite hatred or intolerance on the grounds of race, language, gender, religious convictions, political opinions, ethnic origin, geographic location, or social background.”
The channel has also violated GPB’s Code of Conduct, preamble of which declares the following principles: Public Values – "We should exercise a high degree of responsibility when covering issues that might be harmful and offensive for certain groups of the society.” Equality – "We should avoid discrimination of people on the grounds of their religion, ethnicity, race, gender or sexual orientation.”
Although the format of Briefing Time program envisages recording and airing by GPB’s Second Channel news briefings held by political parties without their editing, we think that it is inadmissible to dedicate the public television’s airtime to the organizations with Nazi ideology. We call on you to develop internal regulations that will ensure observance of anti-discrimination provisions of the Codes of Conduct for Broadcasters and GPB in this format and will prevent similar cases in the future. It is important for Georgian Public Broadcaster to implement effective measures to avoid turning the television into the platform for racist groups as well as for inciting hatred in the society.
Media Development Foundation (MDF)
Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
Baltic to Black Sea Alliance - Georgia (BBSAG)
Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)
Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS)
Transparency International Georgia (TI)