Excellent precedent. This is perhaps the first of its kind in the South Caucasus when journalists got dismissed because of hate speech (including homophobia).
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 and the Vatican as well as 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,” Journalists quit their jobs 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 a journalist even if they write it on their Facebook wall,” Rusudan Vashakidze, the Producer of the program, told onlinenews.ge.
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