Public Defender and Council of National Minorities Term the Information Spread by Mtavari Arkhi (Main Channel) as Xenophobic

The Public Defender of Georgia and the Council of National Minorities of the Public Defender of Georgia are criticizing the TV story “Genes against Coronavirus” of the Post Factum programme aired on Mtavari Arkhi (Main Channel) on April 5. The theme of the TV story was the privileges of one part of the community according to their ethnicity relating to the novel coronavirus. After the TV story, the host of the programme - Giorgi Gabunia - also made an Armenophobic statement.

It should be noted that when discussing medical issues, focusing on any ethnic group either positively or negatively is detrimental to the process of complex social changes ongoing in the Georgian society for achieving equality, promotes xenophobic stereotypes and humiliates specific ethnic groups.

It is especially unacceptable when statements encouraging discrimination are disseminated by the media, which has a significant impact on the formation of public awareness. It is important for the journalists to do their utmost to avoid spreading xenophobic or other views encouraging inequality, especially amid the tense situation caused by the pandemic. According to the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters, “the broadcaster must refrain from publishing material that incites hatred or intolerance on the ground of race, language, sex, religion, political opinion, ethnicity, geographical or social origin."

Thus, the Public Defender and the Council of National Minorities of the Public Defender call on the media, journalists, public figures and civil activists to contribute to the consolidation of society against coronavirus and challenges, cover the ongoing developments in the country with special caution, take all measures to prevent racial and ethnic discrimination and avoid encouraging ethnic, religious, linguistic and other kinds of hostility and hatred.

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