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World Press Freedom Index unchanged for Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, April 27
The index of freedom of the press in Georgia has remained the same according to the latest World Press Freedom Index 2017.

The report was released by the non-governmental organization Reporters without Borders (RSF).

The 2016 report of RSF says Georgia still takes 64th place in the list of 180 countries, the same as this year.

However, the index says that the reforms of recent years have brought improvements to Georgia’s media landscape, namely media ownership transparency, satellite TV pluralism, and an overhaul of the broadcasting regulatory authority.

“After a series of scandals, the constitutional court ruled in April 2016 that surveillance by the intelligence agencies should be subjected to certain safeguards,” the report reads.

The NGO says that violence against journalists is less frequent, although threats are often reported.

“But the media continue to be very polarized and, despite some progress, media owners often call the shots on editorial content,” the report says.

The document also mentions a court dispute over the ownership of opposition-minded broadcaster Rustavi 2, adding that the fate of the main national opposition TV channel will serve as a test.

“The war for ownership of the main TV channels is a source of concern for the future of pluralism,” the NGO says.

The Index saw each country evaluated in seven categories – pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency and infrastructure. According to this Georgia gained a score of 27.76.

Lower scores mean better press freedom, and higher scores mean less press freedom.

The top five countries with the most press freedom are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands.