Tbilisi, July 23, 2021
“The Georgian Church has been under serious attack by certain forces for a long time. Since the events of July 5-6, the situation in our media has become more aggravated and extremely aggressive,” a new statement from the Georgian Orthodox Church begins.
LGBT pride events were held in Tbilisi July 1-5, intended to culminate in a “March of Dignity.” The Church consistently opposed the events while also urging all to remain prayerful and calm. However, a small number of protestors did become violent and a number of journalists were attacked, resulting in the tragic death of cameraman Alexander Lachkarava.
Although the Church made several statements calling for peace and explicitly condemned the violence, emphasizing that it would deal with any clerics who may have called for violence, the media rushed to paint the protestors as violent Orthodox Christians and to lay the blame at the Church’s door.
The Patriarchate notes several stations that are especially distinguished by their “hate speech” against the Church, with threats and calls for retribution against the Church, His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, the hierarchs, priests, and parishioners.
Instead of objectively covering the situation, many journalists fling biased assessments, baseless accusations, and provocative questions to upset their interviewee, and then release footage of these clerics out of context to portray them as violent, the statement explains.
While there was some misconduct on the part of the clergy, the statement continues, the media deliberately generalizes individual cases to attack the entire Church, and also ignores the fact that clergy and monastics also protected the journalists who were attacked by extremist groups during the LGBT events.
The article, “Anti-Church media reports in Georgia regarding the LGBTQ march” exposes some of this media manipulation.
The media also fails to report the psychological violence and provocative statements coming from the leadership of Tbilisi Pride, while distorting Orthodox teaching into political statements. Such blatant violations of journalistic ethics are an obstruction to peace in society, though the embassies (who actively participate in LGBT propaganda) somehow fail to notice.
“We once again call on all to show restraint, to trust in God and patiently overcome challenges,” the Patriarchate stresses.
And the Church reminds that, based on laws that protect citizens from physical and psychological violence, unwanted communication and harassment and punish those who obstruct worship, any individual or Church leader can apply to the management of any TV station and inform them that they don’t want to speak with their journalists. If the stations don’t comply, then the police are obliged to restrict the movement of such journalists in the relevant area.