On May 18 Internews Georgia released the third quarterly report of Georgian press monitoring which covers the period from December 1, 2011 to February 29, 2012.
Monitoring is being carried out within the framework of the Heinrich Boll Foundation South Caucasus Regional Office project Addressing Hate Speech in Georgia: A Litmus Test for Human Rights and Social Tolerance. The project is made possible with the financial backing of EU in the scope of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
Internews Georgia is conducting monitoring on the extent of coverage of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities in Georgian press as well as the usage of the hate speech and discriminating statements against them. The monitoring aims to identify hate speech in Georgian press and enkindle public discussion.
The new summary report includes the results of qualitative and quantitative survey.
Nine national and three regional print editions have been singled out for the monitoring: The Rezonansi, Alia and Kviris Kronika, Akhali Taoba, Versia, Kviris Palitra, Asaval-Dasavali, 24 Saati, and its attachment Weekend, Prime-Time, Batumelebi (Batumi), Samkhretis Karibche (Akhaltsike and Akhali Gazeti (Kutaisi).
Giorgi Tabagari and Diana Chachua worked on the report.
Within the monitoring period 123 articles related to ethnic, religious and sexual minorities have been analyzed.
According to the report the Asaval-dasavali, Akhali Taoba and Kviris Kronika apportioned the largest space to the coverage of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. When reporting on ethnic minorities attention was mostly focused on Armenians, Gypsies, and Abkhazians. Attention to Turks was due to the construction of Aziziye mosque. The tone of coverage over the given issue was mainly negative with the use of terms and evaluations such as ‘Turkization’ and ‘Turkish Invasion.’
Within the monitoring period, a part of Georgian print media, like in previous surveys used Armenian as an offensive word. Xenophobic statements were being made in relation to President Saakashvili and other high officials. The Asaval-Dasavali, Alia and Kviris Kronika frequently appealed on ethnic origin.
Within the present quarterly monitoring the Asaval-Dasavali and Alia Holding (including newspapers Alia and Kviris Kronika) violated the standards of journalistic ethics and kept making xenophobic and homophobic statements. Besides, according to the authors’ assessment the journalists of the Alia, Kviris Kronika and Asaval-Dasavali showed their xenophobic attitude in their questions to respondents as well as comments.
Media researchers point out in the report that within the monitoring period 24 Saati, Rezonansi, Batumelebi, Akhali Taoba, Kviris Palitra covered minority issues in a balanced manner, without using hate speech.
The report also points out that the Prime Time and Versia dedicated little space to minority issues.
The authors of the monitoring spotted the lack of newspaper articles on sexual, religious and ethnic minority issues.
“The results of the monitoring revealed numerous cases of homophobic and xenophobic attitude to minorities. It’s indicative of the lack of tolerance and unwillingness to accept dissension,” reads the conclusion of the quarterly report.
The full version of the report in the Georgian language is downloadable from Media.ge.
The first and the second quarterly reports are available at - http://www.media.ge/en/content/minorities_in_georgian