Discussion: When Journalists Face Moral & Professional Choices

On November 29, within the framework of the project ‘Journalist’s Breakfast at Freedom Office,’ well-known journalist Davit Paichadze met with media and civil society representatives to discuss the issue of journalism ethics, its limits, and possible solutions to said limitations. The discussion focused on hate speech and kindling xenophobia.

Lasha Giorgadze, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Civil Involvement, opened the event before giving the stage to TV and radio journalist Davit Paichadze.

“We’re here to think about ways to diminish the risks as of sharing language of hatred and xenophobia via media or by media,” Paichadze told GEORGIA TODAY. “It is not difficult to see. Freedom of speech is guaranteed to such an extent by Georgian legislation that it is impossible to confine hate speech and similar opinion-making. There are several ways to confront this: one is that the journalists who do not share such pathos of hate speech and xenophobia should be much more actively offering to publicize their TV programs, discussions, reportages and in some cases, their personal opinions, too. Journalists should think twice about whom they invite as respondents and what these guests will bring them. If you are sure that your respondent will talk in such a way as to harm others’ dignity or insult others, thus intensifying the aspiration of hostility, then it is a matter of your moral and professional choice. As journalists, we should be responsible, which means that we should trust and respect our society by offering it a higher level of discussions that we are having currently. We should aspire to constant professional growth”.

“We should let go such people who kindle hatred, and we should not give our channels and newspapers a chance to propagate their opinions. Such an attitude is pragmatically unprofitable. If we give our air, pages or internet space to those individuals who assault others’ freedoms, discuss details from others' lives, discriminate against others’ faith, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and so on, sooner or later, these opinions will come back to us. When journalists give space to aggressive respondents, they unwillingly or deliberately create a fertile ground for restricting others’ freedom. If Georgia is ever able to really evolve, such people should be marginalized. The role of media in this regard is vital,” he concluded.

“Once annually, we invite people in an informal environment to share their opinions about relevant recent issues,” Giorgadze told us. “The main goal of our soon-to-end project, was to give journalists an environment where they would feel free to express their opinions and ask open questions to respondents”.

The meeting took place at Friedrich Naumann Fund and was organized by the Center for Civil Involvement.

Maka Lomadze

30 November 2017 18:21