Speaking at the February 14 press conference Salome Gogiashvili and Dato Katsarava former hosts of Imedi Morning Program, dismissed from Imedi TV, said today that their right, as of a journalist, was violated and pressure exerted by NGOs and the TV company.
On January 18, they clarified, the channel aired the story about the surrogate mother that gave birth to the second child for Elton John and his spouse. Few minutes after the story was aired the hosts made two comments: - “ I feel thoroughly sorry for the both of Elton John’s children; - “ I definitely wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of Elton John’s surrogate child, as it shall be quite ridiculous when the child learns of having two fathers some time later.”
The TV management afterwards restricted the aforementioned hosts to appear on air, in the news program Kronika the TV company pointed out the channel disapproves the morning hosts’ opinion. The Imedi TV Board of Ethics said the statements made were of homophobic nature, violating thereby the code of journalistic ethics. Identoba, an organization working on gender equality and LGBT rights in Georgia, called on the journalists to make an apology.
The call by Identoba, the dismissed journalists said, was a direct and coarse pressure upon professional activity of a journalist.
In the Georgian legal space, the journalists clarified, a family is recognized as a union between a woman and a man. Same-sex marriages and of adoption of a child is impermissible. The freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed in the Constitution of Georgia. Accordingly the comment made in the morning program did not contain any elements being at odds with moral and ethical norms. They flatly ruled out the possibility of insult to anyone.
“I think it would be more abnormal to start propaganda for adopting the second child, rather than the ironic comment made,” says Salome Gogiashvili.
Speaking at the press conference the journalists also stressed that in the past few years certain NGOs tend to try to “teach” journalists how to demonstrate special warmth and sympathy to sexual minorities. In the curse of protecting sexual minorities they constantly violate the right of the majority of the society – to have opinions and enjoy freedom of expression.
Salome Gogiashvili and Dato Katsarava believe that TV company Imedi shouldn’t have dismissed them, the company was to protect their rights.
“Earlier Nanuka Zhorzholiani made similar statements, which ensued bustle but the company defended her then,” Gogiashvili remarked.
Media.Ge failed to learn from the TV company what response the company is to make to the Imedi hosts’ accusations, Imedi TV’s Director General Rezo Sakevarishvili was rejecting calls. The program producer Nino Kotaria refused to make any comments over the issue.
Davit Kartsava clarified that the hosts are not going to further fight for their rights.
“We held the press conference to tell what has happened and we do not plead us guilty,” said Katsarava.
The Imedi TV Board of Ethics worked out a recommendation on conducting training for each and every Imedi TV journalist so that they could comprehend the Georgian Law on Broadcasting and the norms of ethics Imedi TV is signatory to.