Georgian NGOs:“Inadequate” Reaction from State Encourages Extremist Groups

The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) based in Georgia, believe that the state has “inadequate” reaction on certain violent facts which encourages extremist groups in the country.

The NGOs made the statement in a wake of the incident at Georgia’s opposition-minded Rustavi 2 TV, where far-fight, ultra-nationalist group, Georgian March members abused the journalists, after TV anchor Giorgi Gabunia made a statement about Jesus Christ.

The organizations stressed that such groups will further continue “silencing different ideas”, if the government does not react “adequately.”

"The act of aggression against Rustavi 2 shows the necessity to set up by the state a particular policy of fighting extremism, aimed at timely prevention of such offenses and providing strict punishment for involved persons in order to prevent such incidents in the future," the statement of NGOs reads.

The NGOs welcome the arrest of several members of Georgian March under the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages from 2 to 5 years in prison.

Moreover, the organizations consider it unacceptable to restrict freedom of expression on the grounds of avoiding to “hurt” religious feelings.

“Inadequate reaction from the state to the facts of violence, intolerance and reduction of freedom of expression encourages extremist groups and criminal acts in the country,” the statement reads.

The NGOs call for the accurate qualification of the offence, use of an adequate penalty for all persons whose are guilty and also to protect the freedom of media, speech and expression and to inform public about the implemented activities.

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 TV anchor Gabunia inside, during the March 19 rally at the broadcaster headquarters.

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.

The journalist believes he has done nothing wrong and is not going to apologize.

By Thea Morrison

Related stories:

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

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



22 March 2018 07:20