"Freedom leads to Freedom" - the solidarity meeting-discussion started with this motto on June 19, in Kutaisi. Representatives of the regional media, non-governmental organizations and civil society attended the meeting. Solidarity meetings are held in Thinkathon format, where participants discuss dilemmas, issues and look for solutions.
Lively discussion was held on creating a supportive media environment:
📍"we should try our best to mitigate the hate speech practice” - Director of "Old City" Keti Berdzenishvili.
📍"Unbiased media are unable to create agenda due to financial problems. Another challenge is violence towards journalists, from which neither regional nor central television representatives are protected... The most important thing to talk about today is disinformation, which creates aggression from the society and non-solidarity towards journalists" - Teona Gogishvili, Representative of "Fair Elections" Kutaisi regional office.
📍"The media especially needs legal protection," - Zaal Gorgidze, chairman of SAIA Kutaisi office.
📍"We don't talk about where the main support and solidarity comes from, we don't talk about where the impetus for development is - it's the EU. The media is passive when it comes to promoting the EU. Less coverage is given to what is being done with the help of the EU in the regions, and this approach needs to be changed. Unfortunately, insufficient coverage is wrong. It also causes perceptions. There is little talk about EU aid even in local self-governmental bodies," - Marika Vacharadze, "Information Center about NATO and the European Union".
📍"Everything in the organization and the profession cannot be regulated. The solution is to create a feasible framework and establish practice. In transitional democracies, the regulation of everything (for example, the criminalisation of hate speech) can kill the practice and work the other way around," - Tamar Aleksidze, international law expert.
📍"Lack of decentralisation hinders us in everything. Regional media need funds to create a quality product," Foki Pachulia, CIPDD
📍"Solidarity journalism is important. I always try to cover vulnerable groups" - Lile Beradze, Radio "Old City".
Within the framework of the meeting, it was decided that a group of solidarity journalists will be created on the social network, where they will discuss the coverage of vulnerable groups, the solidarity expressed towards the media and the importance of solidarity.
The MCERC project "MediaVoice: more freedom, less self-censorship in the media" is implemented with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia.