Rustavi 2 TV Journalist Not to Apologize for His “Joke” about Jesus

Giorgi Gabunia, journalist and presenter at Georgia’s most opposition-minded station Rustavi 2, has refused to apologize for his statement about Jesus Christ, which was followed by protests from the clerics and ultra-nationalist groups, claiming the journalist “hurt” their religious beliefs.

Gabunia stated on March 18 that Christ made a “huge mistake” when he went to Israel 2000 years ago.

“Instead, Jesus should have arrived in Georgia’s Adjara, where he would not have been crucified, as there are no trees left. All of them have been taken to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s garden,” Gabunia stated, referring to tycoon Ivanishvili, founder of Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and ex-PM, who is famous for his tree-collecting hobby.

However, the journalist believes he has done nothing wrong and is not going to apologize.

“If someone did not like the things i said in my statements, it does not mean that I insulted anyone. So I don't think I have done anything wrong. Some people do not like that I exist, so shall I apologize for my existence as well? I will not do it,” the TV anchor declared.

Before Gabunia’s statements, Rustavi 2 TV Director General, Nika Gvaramia apologized for Gabunia’s statement, saying the broadcaster’s Ethics Commission discussed this issue and reprimanded the journalist because his statement contradicts the editorial policy of the channel and it also “hurt” religious feelings of Christian believers.

However, Gvaramia added that the TV management cannot make Gabunia apologize, as his statement falls into the principle of freedom of expression.

On March 20, the police detained 5 members of Georgia’s radical and ultra-nationalist group, Georgian March, for attacking Rustavi 2 journalist Davit Eradze and damaging a car, with Gabunia inside, during the March 19 rally at the broadcaster headquarters.

An investigation is underway under the article 139 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages imprisonment up to 5 years.

By Thea Morrison

Photo source: Sandro Bitarishvili

Similar story:

Rustavi 2 TV Apologizes for Their Journalist's Statement about Jesus


21 March 2018 09:25
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