Public Defender’s Statement on Alleged Sexual Harassment Committed by Head of Media Organization

The Public Defender of Georgia is echoing the recent reports of alleged sexual harassment committed by the head of one of the media organizations and the reactions following the reports.

In addition, the Public Defender expresses his support to the alleged victims of violence and, as an anti-discrimination mechanism, expresses his full readiness to examine their individual cases within the mandate of the institution, if requested.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time when part of the public and politicians show support to the alleged harasser, while directing aggression towards the alleged victims - questioning their narrative and pointing out that the purpose of allegations of sexual harassment after years is only to damage the reputation of the alleged harasser.

The Public Defender of Georgia considers that similar statements by members of society and especially by politicians strengthen the existing stereotypes towards victims of violence, incite discrimination against them and create an additional social barrier for them to talk about their difficult experiences and apply the relevant legal mechanisms.

At the same time, the Public Defender wants to focus on the media coverage of the above events. Due to the importance and sensitivity of the topic, the Public Defender calls on the media to respect the rights to privacy, space and communication enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia and to take into account the obligation under the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting, which obliges broadcasters to take all measures to ensure the accuracy of the facts broadcast and to correct mistakes in time. In addition, the Public Defender will follow the course of the criminal investigation, which, according to a private person, was launched on the basis of a false report.

The Public Defender also reminds the public that any kind of violence against journalists is unacceptable and impermissible.

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