Media monitoring project reveals long-awaited results
Author: By Nino Edilashvili
The parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for the fall of 2012 and 2013, including its media coverage, is seen as a test to measure the quality of Georgia’s current democracy. With the goal to improve journalistic standards by identifying its faults and virtues, the results of a monitoring project that focused on how social and economic issues are covered by the Georgian media were unveiled on April 25.
The project which was funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) started last year. Its first phase covered 19 weeks from June through December 2011 and examined 11 themes: the judiciary, civil society, local governance, internally displaced persons, those with disabilities, gender-based violence, minorities, under-aged victims and juveniles in conflict with law, environmental and social issues and elections.
Under the project, seven Georgian non-governmental organizations - the Caucasus Research Resource Centre (CRRC), Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), Civil Society Institute (CSI), Civic development Institute (CDI), Human Rights Centre (HRC), International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), and Internews Georgia, monitored approximately 50 media outlets.
The main focus was placed on three nationwide broadcasters: public broadcaster’s First Channel; Rustavi 2 TV, Imedi TV and three Tbilisi-based stations, with limited coverage Kavkasia TV; Maestro TV and Real TV.
It was concluded by NGO monitoring representatives that there was varying coverage of the topics, including the tone and neutrality of each TV report. All monitors pointed to the fact that all sensitive subjects (sexual minorities, religious groups and disabled people) were either ignored or covered very infrequently.