Ambassador Philip Dimitrov, Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia, and Jamie McGoldrick, Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia, held a press conference on Tuesday, to report on the progress of the ongoing media monitoring initiative and discuss the development of free and professional media in Georgia. The monitoring is being implemented by the following four civil society organizations: The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), Internews Georgia, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), Civic Development Institute.
Georgian Media far from perfect
By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Wednesday, October 31
“The situation of media in Georgia is far from perfect, and it means that there are a lot of problems and probably new problems will occur and it naturally needs further work,” Ambassador Dimitrov said, adding that the Georgian media is very polarized, which is not typical for Georgia only, although here it is particularly notable. He called the media monitoring project “successful”, saying that in this process the project aim was to foster media professionalism, the transparency of media owners and the long-term continuation of the ‘Must-carry’ principle. However, according to the ambassador all this depends on the demands of Georgia.
“The media has a very fundamental role that can change society,” this is how the head of the UNDP, McGoldrick, addressed the media representatives. According to him things are improving in media field in Georgia.
“There is no functioning democracy without a functioning media, this is something that has to work hand in hand and as we saw in Georgia during the last period– things are improving,” McGoldrick said that this process will continue in 2013 until the presidential elections in Georgia.
Commenting with The Messenger, the head of the UNDP highlighted the importance of diversified media. According to him, having private and public media outlets prompts this field for healthy development. He stressed the fact that the most important aspect is having a high-quality of media professionalism and responsibility. “It is important to have a professional media, I think it is important to have a responsible media and transparent ownership and management and a degree of accountability to parliament, to the government and to the people of Georgia,” McGoldrick added.
Keti Chubinishvili, of the CRRC said that the Public Broadcaster and Kavkasia TV were most balanced during the period of their monitoring. Channel 9 and Maestro provided negative coverage of the government and the president, as well as the UNM. As for Rustavi 2, Imedi and Real TV, the president, government and the UNM received positive coverage. The Georgian Dream was covered with negative tone.
The report shows that radio stations provided more neutral coverage, although from May, radio stations allocated more air-time to the GD coalition which was followed by the UNM, the president and government.
As for the printed media, a large portion of its coverage was dedicated to the Georgian Dream. Print media tone was mostly neutral, but in some newspapers journalists used hate speech and covered unverified and incorrect information.
The online media exhibited less polarization and offered a more neutral tone. The main topics of their coverage were the Georgian Dream coalition, the government and the president.
The qualitative and quantitative monitoring of Georgian TV, radio, print and online media was launched in May 2012 and will continue until the end of 2013.
Key findings of the media monitoring are discussed in a weekly TV show called “Media Monitori” on the Georgian Public Broadcaster on Mondays. The reports are available at the website: www.mediamonitor.ge