Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Xenophobe, sexist and homophobe likely candidate to head Georgia Public TV

The message below is from Georgian LGBT NGO - Inclusive Foundation.
Dear all,

Many of you are aware that the director of Georgian public broadcasting has resigned. His former deputy and general producer G. Chanturia is now discussed as the possible candidate while all other candidates are not favored by government.

I urge all of to share this note with your friends and raise awareness so that Board has problems appointing him as director of GPB. This man is xenophobe, sexist and homophobe. Today we cannot afford this kind of person paid by our money slamming our face with his miserable prejudice!

This is the letter that EU presidency, Swedish Ambassador kindly wrote to the Board.

Letter of Swedish Ambassador to Georgian Public Broadcasting on the occasion of homophobic hate speech

To: Mr. Levan Gakheladze, Head of the Board of trustees of the GPB

Dear Sir,
Unfortunately, a climate of homophobia prevails in Georgia, reflecting attitudes that are not compatible with European norms on human rights. An example of this unhealthy social environment was the discussion published in the January 2009 issue of the magazine Tskheli Shokoladi, discussion during which a representative of the Georgian Public Broadcaster was reported as treating homosexuals in a disrespectful way, calling them “crippled people” and “pederasts”. The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association as well as the Ombudsman have criticized this violation of the code of conduct of the Georgian public broadcaster.

In a related matter, in 2007 the GPB had agreed to show a documentary on LGBT rights violations in Europe entitled “Rainbow’s End”. However, for some unknown reason, the documentary was eventually not broadcast.

It remains unclear what the position of the Board over these cases is.

The Swedish EU presidency supports the negotiations within the EU on a new directive implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. According to this new directive, discrimination because of sexual orientation shall be prohibited.

Also, the Swedish presidency will organize an Equality Summnit in November which will constitute an opportunity to reaffirm political commitment for this new anti-discrimination directive, give visibility to discrimination based on gender identity and highlight LGBT rights violations.

Taking into consideration Georgia’s European aspirations and its increasing engagement in the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership, I remind you that Georgia will be expected to transpose the EU acquis into national legislation, including comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, and to respect and uphold LGBT people’s rights.

The Swedish embassy would recommend that the Georgian Public Broadcasting undertake activities designed to educate the general public on sexual orientation and gender identity and to counter homophobia and negative stereotypes.

Best regards,

Hans Gunnar Aden

CC: M Levan Kubaneishvili, Director General of the GPB
M Paata Sabelashvili, President of Inclusive Foundation


Paco said...

Thanks Mika for the word.
I will update a little:
On Friday they announced three shortlisted candidates the guy is of course among them. We demanded in front of public TV to have job interviews screened live. They did not but uploaded video recording of the interview. We also demanded TV debates among candidates and that happened on Friday evening. Anchor was well prepared to challange Mr. Chanturia's homophobic speech. The candidate literary had to appologize (Anchor: "So, what you say is very close to appolgy but not quite" and phrases like this was heard throughout the 2 hour debates).
The guy was really frustrated. Our other representative went to other TV (opositionary minded and not so gay friendly) and there too she had the chance to slam the guy.
It seems as government pushes for the candidate that happened to speak out in a homophobic way and we protest against his election, this type of previously non-friendly media found some common grounds to have us heard on their air. We will see how all these attempts end on Monday. For some reason everyone is sure that the guy will of course be elected by the board. But I am more optimistic.

artmika said...

Thanks for updates, Paco. Please, keep posted. What is important to know is that you've managed to challenge him.

artmika said...

Unfortunately, and as expected, he got elected:

As it was expected, Gia Chanturia was elected by eight-member board of trustees as a new general director of the public broadcaster on August 10 with five votes.

Three members of the board voted for none of the contenders in a secret ballot. At least five votes were required for a contender to win the post.

A long-time journalist Zviad Koridze and a film director Giorgi Kacharava were two other contenders.

Chanturia, 39, was a deputy general director of the broadcaster since April, 2008 and an acting general director since Levan Kubaneishvili’s resignation last month. He was regarded by many media commentators as a favorite candidate for the authorities.