In 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, Internews Georgia is conducting a monitoring of reporting on and usage of the hate speech against ethnic, religious and sexual minorities in Georgian press.
On October 25 Internews Georgia published the first quarterly report of the monitoring. This report represents the results of quantitative and qualitative researches conducted during May-July 2011.
8 national and 3 regional publications have been chosen for the monitoring: Resonance, Alia and Kviris Kronika, Akhali Taoba, Versia, Kviris Palitra, Asaval-Dasavali, 24 Saati, and Weekend, Prime-Time, Batumelebi (Batumi), Samkhretis Karibche (Akhaltsike and Akhali Gazeti (Kutaisi).
During monitoring period Asaval-Dasavali, Resonansi and Akhali Taoba dedicated the largest space to coverage of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities.
According to the report newspapers Asaval-Dasavali, Versia and Alia Holding (newspapers Alia and Kviris Kronika) often violate standards of journalistic ethics by publishing xenophobic and homophobic statements.
Additionally, an important trend has been outlined that excluding few newspapers there are several media outlets that provide society with balanced materials based on ethical standards. Newspapers like 24 Saati, Resonance, Batumelebi, Akhali Taoba, Kviris Palitra, Prime-Time and Samkhretis Karibche are paying less attention to minority issues, however in case of coverage articles are always balanced and with no statements containing hate speech. Along with that, according to the report, monitoring revealed that there is a lack of analytical articles in the Georgian printed media regarding sexual, religious and ethnic minorities.
The monitoring also demonstrated that among ethnic minorities, the coverage was mainly focused on Armenians and the tone was often negative. Regarding issues related to sexual orientation/gender identity, incorrect use of terms by both journalists and respondents and lack of awareness about the issue was noteworthy. In comparison with ethnic and sexual minorities, religious minorities attract less attention from the Georgian media, although Jehovah's witnesses is the minority group in relation of which hate speech is most frequently used.
The results of the monitoring clearly demonstrate that homophobic attitudes towards minorities are often manifested. “This indicates that the problem of tolerance and acceptance of differences is still an acute problem in Georgia,” – is said in Internews Georgia’s quarterly report.
You can download the monitoring quarterly results from Media.ge website.