On January 26, 2023 “Media Voice” presented a study entitled “Media Environment 2022: Threats and Supportive Instruments in Georgia” to representatives of media, civil society and academia. The event launched with opening remarks by the Head of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Caucasus Office Katrin Bannach. Research findings and recommendations were presented by the authors prof. Mariam Gersamia and assoc. prof. Maia Toradze.
The research highlights the impact of political polarization and crises on media viability and the impact of global and local crises (including Russia’s war in Ukraine) on the media environment; focuses on the extent to which the safety of journalists is ensured in Georgia, how the investigation of crimes committed against journalists is conducted, and what is being done to end any impunity. Based on the challenges that have existed since previous years, the study analyzes the existing threats in relation to self-censorship and freedom of expression.
How media manage to maintain institutional viability (e.g., financial sustainability, content production, relationships with sources and access to information) is particularly important in the context of political polarization. In this process, the hindering and supporting mechanisms present in the media from the side of various actors are evaluated. The study includes an evaluation of solidarity journalism as a support mechanism through the lens of situations observed in 2022.
One of the main aspects of the research is the assessment of the challenges in the Georgian media environment as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis that followed. In this regard, under the existing conditions of Russian propaganda, the possible mechanisms of the influence of disinformation and its reduction are analyzed. The direct connection of artificial polarization, as a propaganda mechanism, to the Russian hybrid war, which deliberately destroys the credibility of journalism as a profession, is highlighted.
The study covers topics as it follows:
Impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on Georgian media environment; Political polarization as threat to media credibility;
Russian hybrid war and polarization in Georgian media;
“Legal pathways” of media harassment in Georgia (Arrest of founder of Mtavari TV channel; Changes in Law of Georgia in Broadcasting);
Challenges to freedom of expression: access to sources;
Impunity for crimes committed against journalists;
Safety of journalists: physical and verbal violence; Microphone as trigger of aggression;
Media viability and financial challenges;
Institutionalization of solidarity and resilience of media environment.
The presentation was followed by stakeholder discussion.
“Media Voice” Thanks to participants of the study (25 representatives of 16 media outlets) and those who contributed in the discussion.
The study was conducted with the support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Caucasus
see the full version of the study: http://bit.ly/3WGUoez
Photo credit: Tika Kharaishvili
See media coverage of the event:
TV Formula: https://www.facebook.com/TVFormula/videos/871752350746890
TV Pirveli: https://tvpirveli.ge/ka/siaxleebi/politika/31430-2022-tseli-qartuli-mediistvis-umdzimesi-iko-arasamtavrobo-organizatsia-media?fbclid=IwAR32sQrezdsDhVxIJfS_rwnK3r2kG3lKvgPom6MRXpIe48G57QjaF_SW-mY
TV Formula: https://www.facebook.com/mcerc.ge/videos/758533941887075
TV Pirveli: https://www.facebook.com/mcerc.ge/videos/505983148318027
Mtavari Channel: https://www.facebook.com/TvMtavari/videos/714155316769876
TV Pirveli (live: program "Pirvelamde"): https://www.facebook.com/Pirvelamde/videos/841195480401696
TV Formula: https://www.facebook.com/TVFormula/videos/467548522079986 Georgian Public Broadcasting: https://1tv.ge/video/saqartvelos-mediagaremo-kvlevis-prezentacia/
Borjomi TV: http://bit.ly/408v9og