Minorities

Georgia: Journalists dismissed because of Facebook hate speech

Also Posted on Global Voices

On 18 March 2011, the Georgian Public Broadcaster dismissed two of its journalists, Giorgi Tukhareli and Giorgi Gabrichidze, because of offensive comments they made on Facebook against homosexuals as well as the Vatican and the Catholic Church. The journalists wrote the remarks on the wall of a page, I don’t love my Patriarch, but even if the comments later disappeared, someone managed to take a screenshot to post on the Internet.

According to reports, Gabrichidze and Tukhareli resigned themselves, and Vakho Sanaia, the anchor of a program they worked on, personally met them. He said that it would be impossible for him to work with them again in the future. “Their comments are incompatible with our values and work style,” Vakho Sanaia told Media.ge. “The journalists quit themselves, and that’s what I wished.” Sanaia also said that he would not have worked with them from the beginning had he known that they were homophobes.

“I’m shocked. I could not believe until I saw it with my own eyes. Both Gabrichidze and Tukhareli were some of the best journalists and they have proven that many times by risking their lives to cover recent events in Egypt. Despite all this, program has its image, which has been jeopardized. We condemn this kind of action from journalists even if they write it on their Facebook wall,” Rusudan Vashakidze, the Producer of the program, told Onlinenews.ge.

According to Netgazeti.ge, Vashakidze talked to Gabrichidze over the phone and later denied claims that his profile had been hacked, while those responsible for the program they worked on said that Facebookis a public space and journalists had to understand that everything they wrote would negatively affect them. Gabrichidze and Tukhareli violated the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s code of ethics and therefore had to quit.

Meanwhile, with 516,300 Facebook users in the country, the largest penetration for the social networking site in the region, many agree with Vashakidze, saying that Facebook is indeed a public space and what Gabrichidze and Tukhareli did was wrong. Vakho Sanaia’s Reportage is a weekly overview of events and subjects in and outside of Georgia. Gabrichidze joined the program a year ago, and Tukhareli was hired in September.

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Ethnic Map of Georgia

This is an ethnic map of Georgia that was released by the European Centre For Minority Issues. It is a bit outdated because it was released in January, 2009, but no other similar map has been released since then.

According to the data there were 239,872 Georgians in Abkhazia in 1989, however according to 2009 data there are approximately 45,000-65,000 left, who either stayed after the war or returned mainly around Gali (which is the closest town to the Georgian border).

According to the same data there were 28,544 officially registered Georgians in South Ossetia in 1989, today the there are only 2-3,000.

Take a look at more interesting info at the map below:

Most of the young Georgians from Abkhazia have IDP status and they live around Georgia or around the world. Those from Abkhazia have not had a chance to get back to their homes for almost 20 years, some of them even don’t remember how their houses look/looked (because part of the property was either burned or destroyed). Will they ever have a chance to stand on their homeland? Nobody has an answer..