Georgian Patriarchate to Enforce Rules for Media

Archpriest Andria Jagmaidze, Head of the Public Relations Department of the Georgian Orthodox Church, held a press conference on 28 October to announce that the Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church has decided to introduce regulations for media at Church events and places that will be “appropriate to the situation.”

Archpriest Jagmaidze explained that “in some cases, especially on big holidays, this will involve the use of the accreditation rule,” and added that in accordance with the Patriarchate Law, they are “informing the public, the media, about the individual regulations in advance.”

According to Archpriest Jagmaidze, “each regulation will be aimed at ensuring the proper conduct of divine services.” “According to the by-laws of the temple, it is necessary for the journalist to occupy the place reserved for the media, in some cases the Patriarchate will [also] reserve the right to control the issue of attendance,” he emphasized.

Per the Archpriest, in recent years, no religious organization in Georgia has been met with as much opposition from individual media outlets and journalists as the Georgian Orthodox Church. “However, in none of these cases has the Patriarchate applied to legal means that a person or an organization can use in cases of defamation or reputational damage,” he added.

Archpriest Jagmaidze said that despite this, the Patriarchate has never restricted relations with journalists, but the “final straw” was the incident that occurred on 14 October 2022, during the Svetiskhovloba holiday, which prompted them to introduce regulations. In particular, according to Archpriest Jagmaidze, one of the TV journalists called the clergy “bandits.”

Per his explanation, despite the fact that the Patriarchate allocated a separate media section for the Svetitskhovloba holiday, Formula TV and Mtavari Arkhi TV journalists refused to occupy the space and called it “a cage.” “As if there are different barriers in other agencies,” he said.

“Moreover, they said that the clergy has an obligation to be patient, even before mass, there is a persistent attempt to interview the clergy,” he noted.

According to Archpriest Jagmaidze, taking into account the fact that the purpose of all Churches is to ensure the performance of divine services, journalistic activities should be carried out in a way that ensures “…uninterrupted divine services….”

He also reiterated that in any other agency or large event, journalists stand in the appropriate space allocated for them, and accordingly, the Patriarchate has the right to do the same.

To a journalist’s hint that the word “bandits” was addressed at the clergy and that on the same day the reporter in question was slapped, Archpriest Jagmaidze replied that the journalist was barred from entering the cell of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, and “scolded” the clergy as a result.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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