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To what extent do you think the media is free in Georgia?

Thursday, April 2
“Well, I think our media is not in so bad a condition as it is, for instance, in our neighbouring countries. We have lots of talk shows where the authorities and Government officials sit face to face and have debates. That’s very good and I think journalists can also write on any topics freely. Maybe I am mistaken but I am telling you what I am reading in Georgian newspapers. There are so many criticisms and assaults on the authorities, so I cannot say that expressing your opinion is restricted in Georgia.”
Shalva, lecturer, 54

“The fact that the Government controls the TV channels is not new but at the same time we have other TV channels that are completely pro-opposition, so I think there is balance between the two sides. However it would be great to have an information source that is completely independent and unbiased.”
Neli, ophthalmologist, 36

“There is no media freedom in Georgia and everyone and everything is controlled here. If you say something not in favour of the Government you may be detained, or someone might accidentally find drugs in your car or bag and you are in jail. That’s terrible. The worst thing is that I don’t think this situation will improve even if the current authorities change and the opposition take power. They talk a lot about media freedom but as soon as they are in “good” chairs they will forget about this. The same thing happened when Saakashvili came into government.”
Giorgi, student, 23

“As far as I can see almost all the Georgian TV stations are tightly controlled, but there are some which can claim they are more or less independent. I think Georgian radio stations and press outlets are freer.”

“I think only the press is free in Georgia. Let’s take the Alia newspaper. They write whatever they want, as does Asaval-Dasavali, nobody can say this paper is controlled by the Government.”
Tiko, doctor, 31

“The media freedom situation is getting worse and worse. It is hard to find any programme on TV which is unbiased and fair. Journalists have forgotten what their main objective is I think. It is not only the fault of the Government but also of media representatives.”
Keti, teacher, 39

“Of course the Government does not want to have a free media, it is not in its interests. I do not trust any media outlet in Georgia. This is very bad but it is a fact. I hope that in time this situation will change for the better.”
Akaki, lawyer, 25