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Tamar Karelidze

Media and LGBT Issues

23.05.2013 19:46

თამარ კარელიძე

There is high public interest to any topic tabooed in a society.  Interest creates rating and media representatives justify themselves right by ruthless commercial market when some of them have to violate journalistic standards at such times. 

Media itself sometimes creates intrigue and scandal; sometimes it is initiated by situation.  Right due to the latter press is often in an ambush regime.  We publish an interview with the mother, friend, neighbor of a girl who was thrown down from third floor by a jealous boyfriend (and for some reason we emphasize that she has shared Patriarch’s photo on her Facebook page); we search for the photos of a candidate for Presidency and publish right the photo on which she is in a swimming suit. 

Only two media outlet representatives came to cover the last year’s 17 May at the premises of Philharmonics.  All the other journalists ran to the location when the hustle started at Rustaveli Avenue.  Due to last year events there was special interest to the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia this year. 

Only the process participant sides are not responsible for the events of 17 May.  The fact that emotional crowd looked for people wearing pink underwear and leather whips in Pushkin Square is also the responsibility of media.  I do not remember any media outlet making emphasis on the content sense of the 17 May rally.  Almost everyone was talking about LGBT persons rally which the public somehow perceived as a parade (without the majority knowing what LGBT means) and media did not even attempt to precise the incorrect information. 

Although, how can we demand balanced coverage of LGBT issues, while we have heard homophobic statements on television.  Presenters of Rustavi 2 and Imedi morning shows made jokes of Elton John and his sons.  They often invite to entertainment shows transvestites the mainline of interview with who is always the fact that they are actually men, that they use nail polish and makeup and so on. 

It is noteworthy that in the imagination of the majority of people who were at the counteraction gay is an abstract monster that is the source all the bad and deprival and who looks like the interviewees they have seen in entertainment heroes. 

The problem is that media either covers these topics incorrectly and tries to have “likes” from masses or tries to taboo such topics just as law enforcing bodies try to taboo legal responsibility of those clerics who have been detected committing violence during live broadcast. 

Monitoring has shown that media tried to conduct balanced coverage of 17 May events post-factum (Ninth Channel presenter apology to viewers for homophobic statements broadcasted earlier) although when you manage to contact a person, who actually survived death, sitting in a bus and ask him where the bus is going in order to say it live right away, is at least a fact of carelessness. 

Another problem appearing in this view is the issue of education.  Despite the fact that we already have guidelines journalists still do not know how to cover LGBT issues. 

Right during the first year of study journalism students are told that they should not express their own opinion in a report/article.  Despite the fact that during lectures everyone nods to that, in practice the given “law” is never used.  Meanwhile LGBT coverage is right the sensitive topic in relation to which many have trouble to conceal their homophobic position.

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