NGOs File a Complaint about Religious Discrimination and Violation of Children's Rights by Imedi TV
Three non-governmental organizations filed a complaint with the Imedi TV self-regulatory body regarding a report "Children Sent to Madrasa" in the program "From a Different Perspective" aired on 25 December.
The following organizations - Relations of Georgian Muslims, Media Development Foundation (MDF) and Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) believe that five Articles (14.9, 18.2, 33.1 - 2, 44.1, 47.11) of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters were breached.
As it is pointed out in the complaint, in the report the journalist explains the decision of parents to send their children to the Muslim school by social disadvantage, not by religious belief, thus "drawing unjustified parallels between ethnic or religious origin and negative events" (Article 33.1), making "inaccurate and misleading statements regarding minorities and their social problems" (Article 33.2) and creating stereotypes.
In addition to the discrimination on the religious grounds, the authors of the complaint also underline the violation of the rights of children, manifested in using underage children for illustrating the social problem. "In the beginning of the report the journalist shows 13-year-old Goderdzi and Jemali as the example to illustrate the problem. The faces of neither these two nor other children of boarding school, considered by the journalist as been sent to Madrasa because of social disadvantage, are not covered", - the complaint notes.
The report violated Article 47 (11) of Code of Conduct for Broadcaster: " Broadcasters should not broadcast such programmes or include material in programmes that may harm minors’ socialization", as well as Article 44 (1) which states that " While respecting a child’s right to freedom of information and expression, broadcasters shall ensure physical, psychological and emotional welfare of minors involved in programmes irrespective of any consent given by a parent, guardian or carer while respecting their rights to freedom of expression and freedom to receive information".
The authors of the complaint also believe that the principles of accuracy and impartiality have been violated in the report as the comment of the Director of Social Welfare Program of UNICEF about the problems of "children with the profound and severe disabilities" was cited in an entirely different context by the journalist, unjustifiably linking it to the topic of particular religious boarding school.
"The journalist's evaluations exclusively relate to Muslim boarding schools, while similar institutions are operating under the aegis of other religious denominations too", - complaint notes referring to Article 18.2 which states that "The programme or report will be considered biased if it lacks comprehensive information on important facts, is based on minor facts, misleads the audience intentionally or unintentionally, or conveys biased views of a person in a hidden form".
The three non-governmental organizations filed the complaint with the self-regulatory body of Imedi TV on December 31.