On 22 May Azeri Students Association of Georgia "Gata", Media Development Foundation (MDF), Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI) and Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) addressed the self-regulatory body of Kavkasia TV Channel.
Address was caused by the statements made by the anchor David Akubardia in the Spektri talk show on 14 May:
David Akubardia, anchor: "This city [Rustavi] will become an Azeri one in 15-20 years unless we save it... Rustavi must be saved as a Georgian city and this is not my idea, it's Stalin's idea...
This is an awkward topic, a gradual annexation, they advance slowly, this city holds them, otherwise we would have a border with another country near Ortachala... The population is decreased by half, and those who bought apartments at the first floors [in Rustavi] all have apartments in Baku...
There is economic discrimination of the Georgians... Two Azerbaijani banks give credits to the Azeris only to purchase apartments... They oppress the Georgians and it causes decrease of Georgians there... From that begins the loss of territories, that was it - the principle of actual population - Kakhi, Belakani, Zakatala, look at the May 1920 agreement with Russia. They recognized that as the territory of Georgia. Then they claimed the principle of actual population and took those territories away. And in the same way they will take Rustavi too if we don't wake up."
The anchor has violated Article 31 of the Code of Conduct of Broadcasters, since his statements stir hatred and intolerance based on ethnic affiliation of Azeri citizens of Georgia, as well as based on geographical origin of ethnic Azerbaijanians living in Rustavi.
The anchor has also violated Article 33.1 of the Code, according to which "broadcasters should avoid drawing unjustified parallels between ethnic or religious origin and negative events, including associating activities of specific individuals with the entire group."
Notably, David Akubardia offers the viewers a number of factual justifications (i.e. Azerbaijani banks giving credits just on a bases of an ethnic origin) without naming either open or close source, or any other evidence, which is important to ensure due accuracy and avoiding misleading of audience.
The Code of Conduct (Article 17.2) also obliges presenters of authored programmes not use their position to report opinions in a way that may violate the impartiality of the programme.
Statements made by David Akubardia in the TV show Spektri are xenophobic and support of the segregation of the citizens of Georgia by ethnic and geographic identity.
Chairperson of the Azeri Students Association of Georgia "Gata"
Chairperson of the Board, Media Development Foundation (MDF)
Founder, Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
Director, Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)