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Media Monitoring reveals tension before elections

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, October 7
Election media monitoring results, which examine media performance during the 2016 Parliamentary elections in Georgia, revealed “tensions, radicalization and polarization” two days before the elections.

The results were revealed by Georgian civil society organizations, supported by the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The released media monitoring reports cover the period from May 20 to September 25. In addition, the team of media monitors presented some preliminary findings of the pre-election weeks of September 25 – October 5, to reflect growing polarization in some media segments related to the increased political temperature before elections.

The monitoring covered forty-six national and local media outlets – television stations, radio, print and online media.

The UNDP's head of the mission in Georgia, Niels Scott, stated that up to this week Georgia had an exemplary pre-election campaign in all directions, including media coverage.

However, he noted that after the October 4 incident in central Tbilisi, when a car of an opposition United National Movement MP Givi Targamadze exploded, the pre-election situation became tense.

“The UN Development Program as well as all international organizations condemns all violence,” he said.

Janos Herman, the Ambassador of the EU to Georgia, also delivered a speech. He said that the 2016 Parliamentary elections in Georgia are the first since the Association Agreement with the European Union is fully in force.

“Elections are always a test and Georgia has a great opportunity to consolidate the democratic gains achieved during the previous years. I am happy to note that the results show more balanced and informative media than in 2012,” said Janos Herman.

Election media monitoring is implemented by the three Georgian civil society organizations -the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics for TV channels, Internews – Georgia for radio, and Civic Development Institute (CDI) for press and online media, with assistance from the European Union and UNDP. Media monitoring started in May 2016 and will continue through November 2016.