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Draft on insulting religious feelings withdrawn

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 17
Majority Member of Parliament (MP) Soso Jachvliani, has withdrawn his bill on the insult of religious feelings.

This information has been spread by Georgia’s Parliamentary Speaker Davit Usupashvili.

“The project was still being discussed by committees. Therefore the author had the right to withdraw it. We have been informed Mr. Jachvliani has withdrawn the bill. Therefore, Parliament has stopped discussing the issue,” Usupashvili said.

The bill initiated by MP Jachvliani was presented to Parliament several months ago. It envisaged imposing fines for insults to religious sanctities, religious organizations, priests and religious figures.

As the MP stated, his bill concerned all religions active in the country.

However, the bill has caused large-scale criticism especially in the civil sector, who stated that such a law would have restricted freedom of expression.

They also stated that such an innovation might be “misused” by law-enforcement bodies, as the concept of religious feeling was deemed very subjective.

The fact that the MP withdrew the bill means either the draft was obscure and required amendment, or it failed to resist its criticism.

Georgian residents still need to raise awareness over religious issues and there are risks that such laws might be misinterpreted.

Some members of the public claim that since they are educated, they have the right to express their views openly, religious issues included, though in many cases they insult religious people.

On the other hand, there are people who claim to be religious and respond to such criticism with verbal abuse and physical violence.

There is only a small group of people who perceive that “freedom ends, where others’ freedom begins.”

Georgia needs a more efficient, accurate and impartial media for the public to react appropriately to criticism.

On the other hand, those who are not religious should also try to respect the values of those who believe in God and trust in their religious leaders.