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Georgia's Gay Rights Activists Protest Broadcast of Secret Sex Tapes

On January 14, 2013, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia announced [ka] that the previous chief of the Military Police Megis Kardava, secretly filmed videos of public figures having sex with homosexual partners. The office alleges these videotapes were used to blackmail the public figures into cooperation with President Mikheil Saakashvili's government.

Prosecutors released blurred versions of the videos to Georgian TV stations, to dispel any doubts about the veracity of their claims. But the broadcast has sparked an outcry over invasion of privacy.

Image by Eric Politzer for Identoba. From their Facebook page.

Image by Eric Politzer for Identoba. From their Facebook page.

Despite the blurring, some say, the men in the videos can still be identified and minority rights groups argue in a highly orthodox country like Georgia, the videos could put those filmed at risk. 

Many human rights organizations, including LGBT Georgia [ka] have asked the officials to stop broadcasting the videos through TV channels:

 @Dato_Shubladze: The Association “LGBT Georgia” appeals to the Georgian President, Prime Minister, Public Defender and Prosecutor General. http://bit.ly/11yOttZ

According to Transparency International Georgia:

 In our opinion, there is no public interest in seeing these secretly recorded videos, while there is a strong interest of the people affected by this case to have their privacy protected.

The organization also claims that Georgia's TV stations failed to comply with the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters [pdf], according to which they:

shall not show sex in programs aired before midnight and shall only portray sex or discussions about sex between 20:00 and 23:00 if this is justified by public interested and edited in a proper form.

The code also stipulates when reporting on crime “broadcasters shall seek to balance the freedom of expression with the presumption of innocence and respect for the privacy of suspect, accused, convict, witness and victim.”

Following this criticism, on January 15, Archil Kbilashvili, the Prosecutor General of Georgia explained that the Prosecutor’s Office didn't violate human rights by showing the videotapes, as it was impossible to identify the people in the released videos.

Explanation is not a relief, on the contrary, existence of such incriminating videos is and always will be the reason for permanent fear for those who were taped and for those who are not taped as well:

 @lishtotah  Systemic homophobia – still alive RT@CivilGe: Public Defender criticizes release of ‘gay honey trap’ videoshttp://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=25644 … #tbilisi

LGBT organizations in Georgia scheduled a Facebook event [ka] to protest the blackmailing, entrapment and humiliation of people for their sexuality, in front of the Persecutor’s Office of Georgia. Recently, the Organization “IDENTOBA” [ka] also launched an online campaign “Trap Me” [ka].

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