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Council of Ethic Charter of Journalists Concluded Natia Koberidze Breached Article 1 of Charter

Ana Sheshaberidze

On March 25, Council of the Ethic Charter of Journalists discussed the question related with the journalist Natia Koberidze based on the complaints filed by citizens.  The Council concluded that journalist of the TV-Company Imedi breached Article 1 of the Charter when releasing the simulated chronicle on March 13. According to the Article, journalist shall respect truth and right of society – to get correct information.

Natia Koberidze did not attend the Council meeting. She replied to 16 questions of the Council by email. Initially, she was going to attend the meeting, but finally she refused after hearing it was going to be public. “I decided not to attend the meeting after I learned it was public; mean people could take advantage of it and start provocation that could put the Council in an awkward situation first of all. By the way, you, my dear colleagues, should have thought of it because I think you did not aim to cause noise about this fact.”

The Council of Ethic Charter does not intend to impose any sanctions over the journalist and only replies to the complaints of the citizens – whether the journalist breached the ethic norms envisaged under the charter or not.

The decision of the Council on March 25 was unanimous. The official document will be published in a week on the website and blog of the Council as well as different media sources - members of the Council – will publish it.

The council member, deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper Resonance Eliso Chapidze expressed her opinion in her interview with the humanrights.ge and said: “Ms. Natia thinks she has not breached journalistic standards. In this case, I think her statement opposes the apology of the TV-Company Imedi and responsibility of the company to apology to people that was imposed by the National Commission of Communications. If they had not breached anything, why are they apologizing then? It is fact that the standards were breached – the truth was not reported and subtitles were not running on the reportage. Ms. Natia states she was not the author of the chronicle but she could influence the authors and request to insert subtitles on the reportage. The author of the program told us that she was one of the authors of the idea. Thus, we think she is also responsible for the incident. Since the reportage seriously damaged the health of several people, I would have sent private appeal to the TV-Company Imedi and request moral compensation from them because it shall not be classified only as violation of the standard. However, the Council does not have more competence. It is a non-governmental organization and relies on voluntary membership.”

It is noteworthy, that Natia Koberidze is one of the founders of the Ethic Charter. However, after the conclusion, she said she is quitting the Charter because the decision was partial.

Besides three suits against Natia Koberidze, suits were submitted against other journalists to the Council of the Ethic Charter of Journalists. At this stage the Council is discussing the acceptance of the suits and only after that they will start their discussion.

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