Media Development Foundation, along with Georgian Muslims Union, Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, and Tolerance and Diversity Institute filed a complaint to Rustavi 2 self-regulation agency on 3 November.
The complaint has been caused by the Rustavi 2 TV program ‘P.S.’ 26 October reporting on the controversial issue of religious building in village Mokhe of Adigeni district.
As it is pointed out in the complaint, the program anchor David Kikalishvili, while presenting the story on the religious building in village Mokhe, violated the principle of impartiality when he expressed his own personal attitude to the viewers before the story itself was aired ("I think, in this particular conflict in Mokhe it is the Muslim community that is wrong, because there are more mosques around the controversial building than there are churches”). So did the question asked by a journalist to one of the Muslim respondents - „And is it really necessary for you to pray particularly in this place?"
„The freedom of religion, just like the freedom of choice where to pray, is a fundamental human right, which is beyond discretion of a journalist", - is stated in the complaint.
The program anchor violated the Requirements to authored programmes of the Code of Conduct of Broadcasters (Article 17.2) according to which, "presenters of authored programmes should not use their position to report opinions in a way that may violate the impartiality of the programme”. In this case also has been violated Article 33.1 of the Broadcasters Code of Conduct, since the program anchor unfoundedly connected the issue of the rights of the Muslim Georgian citizens to troubles.
The organizations call on the TV company’s self-regulation agency to discuss the violation of Articles 16.2, 16.4, 17.2, 31.1, 31.2, 33.1 of the Broadcasters Code of Conduct.