MDF Report on Anti-Gender and Anti-LGBTQI Mobilization in Georgia

On March 7th, the Media Development Foundation (MDF), a media watchdog, released a report revealing 987 instances of discriminatory content related to gender and LGBTQI affiliation. The report found that most of the discriminatory content (64.6%) was homophobic.

Contributors used desk research and media monitoring, including Facebook’s Crowdtangle tool, to analyze 10 traditional media outlets and 149 Facebook accounts (pages, groups, and individuals). The research period covered the second half of 2022.

MDF’s report was supported by USAID-funded “Unity through Diversity” program, administered by the UN Association of Georgia. 

Most of the 193 cases of sexist hate speech/stereotypes identified in traditional media targeted female politicians, especially those from the opposition (22.9%), NGOs/activists (14.9%), and female diplomats/Western politicians (14.5%). Insults were primarily directed at the US Ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, and the leader of the opposition party “Droa,” Elene Khoshtaria.

Source: MDF

Regarding the 638 homophobic messages, the majority (453) were found in traditional media, which is twice as many as those found in comments on Facebook (185).

Source: MDF

Pro-Kremlin media outlets, Facebook pages, individuals, and political parties such as “Sezoni TV,” “Georgia and World,” “Alt-Info” TV, Alliance of Patriots, Georgian Idea, Archpriest Spyridon Tskipurishvili, and Levan Vasadze had the highest occurrence of sexist hate speech and homophobia.

Mobilization for the Protection of Identity, Values, the Institution of Family and Children

Out of the 398 analyzed comments, the themes of protecting values (32.4%) and identity (31.7%) were almost equally predominant. Pro-Kremlin actors used the false dilemma technique in a prominent case, presenting Orthodox Russia as a counterweight to the “perverted West” – a fighter against “LGBT-zation.”

Regarding family-related topics, messages about abortion were predominant, with the termination of pregnancy in any form considered a sin and murder.

Liberals, LGBTQI people, and promoting homosexuality were seen as the main threat to children. The conversation mainly focused on teaching equality issues, sexual education in formal and non-formal settings, and the anti-discrimination law, which was portrayed as violating children’s rights.


There were 8 legislative initiatives registered in parliament, including 1 on abortion, 1 on blasphemy, and 6 that could potentially infringe upon the rights of marginalized groups based on gender and sexual identity.

Changes proposed in the Georgian Law on Broadcasting, which transferred hate speech regulation from media self-regulation to formal regulation, were controversial and seen as limiting Christians’ freedom of expression, as well as an imposed directive from the European Union.

FIMI and Gender-based Disinformation

The report analyzed two types of deliberate disinformation: Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI) and gender-based disinformation, which targeted women, LGBTQI individuals, and politicians in a homophobic context.

FIMI was identified when pro-Kremlin actors disseminated a distorted statement by US Congressman Jamie Raskin, which was found in 212 Russian-language and 62 Georgian-language cases within Facebook’s fact-checking program.

During the monitoring period, gender-based disinformation was identified in three cases. Two of the cases targeted the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska. The other case criticized Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze’s decision to honor Demna Gvasalia, citing his “sinful” sexual identity as a reason why he “shouldn’t be glorified.”

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


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