Georgia: Orthodox scandal

In the most religious country of the South Caucasus where the Orthodox Church's Patriarch can even encourage a baby boom, criticizing the clergy is still somewhat taboo. Lampooning them, however, is even worse and fraught with danger, as This is Tbilisi Calling reports.

The Georgian police are reported to have tracked down the thought criminals responsible for “indecent and insulting” satirical videos which targeted the head of the Orthodox Church and caused a nationwide scandal in this fervently religious country. A statement from the Interior Ministry identified the culprits as a school pupil and a student. […]

Evolutsia, examines the larger issue as it relates to the power of the Church and freedom of speech. In an op-ed piece on the newly launched English-language news blog, Inge Snip sounds the alarm bells.

One of the most fundamental freedoms is, I believe, the freedom of speech. Freedom of speech enables a country to show to every citizen that their opinion is allowed to be heard, no matter the content. In addition, a true democracy allows the mocking of important figures in society, and by doing so, it shows its maturity.


To conclude, there is no grounds for investigating this issue, nor should there be; however, the law enforcement agencies did the opposite, because there is some kind of popular demand. As a student of law, this is easily one of the most ridiculous grounds for any judicial investigation I have ever heard.


  • […] include reaction to the verdict of Azerbaijani bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade as well as a Georgian scandal involving the Orthodox Church. Although all posts can be found at their original Global Voices […]

  • Sofia

    Surely I am the supporter of freedom of expression and consider it a fundamental value of democatic society,but can anything be classified as freedom of expression?
    The form that so called “expression” has taken is far beyond the normality. And no matter would it be Orthodox patriarch or Muslim leader. This is wrong.
    While condemning Georgia of anti-democratic moves, I would like all those critics to remind “Otto Preming Institute against Austria” case, where European Court of HUman Rights accepted the idea that if the expression has taken the forms which is clearely abusing the rights of other people it should be stopped, EUCHR has agreed to cencor the film called “Liebeskonzil” claiming that it would cause Religious instability in society.
    I do not think this case is anyhow different, surely anyone can express their very subjective ideas , and even if they don’t like Patriarch they can critisize them but in a limitted borders so it would not become from freedom of speech into abuse! And one of the videos they made was clearely abusive.
    Far more interesting is what are the reasons for making such things? Is it just way of expressing mind, or has far more deep roots, and aimed at religious instability and conflicts in country?

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