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New body formed to protect rights of media

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, April 14
The Coalition for Media Advocacy, a new union protecting journalists’ rights, signed a memorandum of collaboration at Frontline Georgia Club on April 13. The coalition uniting 11 media and public organizations is oriented on improving the media environment in Georgia. These organizations are: Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Eurasia Partnership Foundation, International Transparency – Georgia, Civil Development Institute, Georgian Regional Media Association, Youth Organization for Civil Society, Georgian Regional Broadcasters’ Association, Regional Broadcasters’ Union, Charter of Journalists’ Ethics and Media Club with the support of Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)

”As the representative of OSGF, I would like to emphasize that the creation of this coalition has been the logical conclusion to the processes started in the previous year. It was the group of media experts who introduced the draft laws for improving the media environment to the Parliament,” Khatia Jinjikhadze, Media Program Manager from OSGF told The Messenger. Talking of the various problems in the media sector like financial non-transparency, inaccessibility to public information as well as violation of journalists’ rights, OSGF plans to sort out similar issues and launch activities for their eradication through public and media campaigns, meetings with different professional groups and provide the media outlets with the relevant information.

Encouraging his colleagues to continue fighting for their rights, Zviad Koridze, journalist from the Charter of Journalists’ Ethics spoke of the challenges for media and society in receiving free and transparent information about things going on around them. “The main aim of today’s event is to create a healthy media environment by highlighting the most burning issues Georgia is facing nowadays. The individual cases on violations have made us develop a common view on the problems within the media outlets in our country,” Koridze told The Messenger.

Stressing the necessity for following the international standards, Koridze hoped that the activities carried out by the newly established coalition would have the most positive impact on the media environment along with various legislative initiatives which are under discussion. “We wish that more people would become engaged in these processes and realize that we, journalists aim at getting reliable information for them so that they should fight for their rights with us,” Koridze stated.

Talking of the role of media as one of the initial preconditions for democratic development of the country, Tamar Kordzaia from GYLA encouraged each and every organization interested in protection of rights of media to join the memorandum. “Let’s discuss all the problematic issues together and find solutions through various campaigns aimed at raising public awareness on the issue,” Kordzaia stated.

Acknowledging the importance of independent media and its special role in the democratization of the country, the coalition-member organizations promised they would do their best to improve the legislation on media regulation, control effective implementation of law and protect the rights and financial independence of individual journalists and media outlets. Being confident that they would follow all the defined goals together, the Coalition for Media Advocacy welcomes public engagement for further cooperation.