Decision - Giorgi Kipiani vs. Marika Bakuradze
11.12.2016

Applicant : Giorgi Kipiani;
Respondent : Marika Bakuradze;
Principle : Not Upheld;
Decision N 105
November 20, 2016

Case - Giorgi Kipiani vs. Marika Bakuradze

Head of Council: Nino Zuriashvili

Members of Council: Jaba Ananidze, Nino Jafiashvili, Maia Mamulashvili, Irina Kurua, Nino Narimanishvili.

Applicant: Giorgi Kipiani

Respondent: Marika Bakuradze

Description 

Giorgi Kipiani contacted Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics with the application about the topic aired on TV Imedi, in the show “Imedis Dro” on 12th of June, 2016. The topic concerned the tension between religious entities and the society. He said that it violated Charter principle 1 and 3.

Applicant attended the case discussion. Respondent provided written the response.

Findings of the Council

According to the first principle of the Charter: “Journalist must respect truth and public’s right to get correct information”.

Applicant thought that the first principle was violated because of the following:

  1. Journalist says while reporting: “The opinions of society are divided into two: one is blaming the climbers for offending the sacred pillar”. According to applicant, journalist did not give any facts to prove that this opinion existed in society and therefore violated charter principle 1. Council conclusion: at the end of the piece there are Facebook comments and posts shown, which prove that this was a topic of discussion. Council members remember different opinions and discussion about the Katskha pillar themselves too.
  2. Applicant says that the journalist conclusion that the land is not registered to be owned by anyone [Katskha pillar and the surrounding area] is an incorrect fact, because according to constitutional agreement which is made between Georgian government and Georgian Auto cephalic Orthodox Church: “Government recognizes orthodox churches, monasteries (working and not working), their ruins and the land these are situated on as the property of Church (Article 7)”. According to applicant this meant that Katskha Pillar was the property of the church and the position of journalist that “It is not registered on anyone’s name” was not correct.

Council’s Conclusion: Council does not share applicant’s opinion. According to Georgian code about real estate, “mark off” law applies, which means that for an entity to have the rights to property two cumulative conditions must apply: 1. Legal right/base [legal act, agreement, etc.] and 2. Registration of this base in the public register. Of course in this case there is a legal base [constitutional agreement] but the ownership of Katskha pillar is not registered in public register, which is proven by the letter of 8th June of 2016 from National agency of public register, which was sent to the journalist and says: “according to the data about real estate rights [Object: Katskha Pillar, region of Chiatura], which is shown on the provided photo [from 1st March of 2008 year, till today] there is no ownership registered.” Therefore, the text of journalist was a fact.

The applicant also was complaining about journalist not rechecking the information about land ownership with different sources [municipality, the ministry of economics, etc.]. Council thinks that as the only governmental institution according to which the land ownership is proven is the public register, rechecking the information concerning that topic with different institutions does not make sense and does not give full information.

Council also says that registering the ownership of the land is mandatory in the public register for the owner to restrict the rights of using it to other people.

According to the principle 3 “Journalist can spread information based on approved sources. Journalist should not hide important facts, forge documents and information”.

Applicant thought that journalist hid facts according to the following:

  1. According to the journalist: “Local priests drove climbers and Sackhere mountain battalion from the territory of the Kastkha pillar”, but she did not say when did this happen and this was the hiding of the information. About this the journalist said that in the show “Imetis dro” topics are prepared according to the important events during the week and if the topic was covered on Sunday, 12th of June it meant that this topic became important in previous days of the week.
Council says that the base of violating principle 3 of the charter can be proven if by hiding this fact the listener/audience/reader cannot get full information and that influences the whole story receive. In this case it is true that people were driven out and the time when that happened is not very important; because it is not connected with another issue [for example changes in code, decisions made by certain people, etc.]. Therefore council thinks that this does not violate principle 3. 

  1. 2. The applicant also said that journalist who used public register letter to prove the land ownership issue, did not provide the letter fully [did not show the second part of the letter] and hid an important fact by doing this.
Public register response was provided in two parts. The first one said:

“According to the note N119923/17 gotten by public register on 8th of June of 2016, we provide information about the real estate rights about the property [Object: Katskha Pillar, region of Chiatura], which is shown on the provided photo [from 1st March of 2008 year, till today] there is no ownership registered.”

The second part said:

We also notify you that according to order N 4 of Justice minister signed on 15th of January, 2010 about “Public Register” instruction 8, point 7, for the registration purposes real estate cadastral data means the data that is created following this instruction and Georgian code. In every other case data is not exact. According to this, electronic cadastral map data does not give a chance to give unverified data about the territory shown on the map because it is not full.”

In order to fully evaluate the fact, it is necessary to determine the journalist’s goal. In this instance, the journalist’s goal was to determine the ownership of the object – Katskha pillar. First part of the letter gives full answer regards to the ownership right registration. As for the second part, the Public Registry noted that to this day no one has addressed them with the ownership registration request for that piece of land, thus the cadastral data isn’t conclusive. The second part doesn’t change the circumstances noted in the first paragraph or question the absence of ownership rights, thus in the interest of the journalist or the viewers, the second part of the letter didn’t offer any additional or important information.

To evaluate this fact, we need to consider what was the goal of the journalist.

Resolution

According to the information above, the council deduced that:
  • Marika Bakuradze didn’t violate the first and third principles of the charter.