Election Media Monitoring Points to Positive Trends in Georgian Media, though Spots Lack of Critical Discussion on Electoral Programmes

Oct 19, 2017

Phjoto: Daro Sulakauri/UNDP

First findings of the ongoing media monitoring of the 2017 Local Self-Government Elections in Georgia were presented at a press conference on 19 October 2017. The unveiled findings refer to the critical period of the election campaign from June 19 to October 8. 

Supported by the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the 2017 media monitoring is one of the largest monitoring exercises in recent years, covering up to 60 national and regional media outlets – televisions, radios, newspapers and online media. 

"The EU's support to media monitoring reflects our continued commitment to further strengthening democracy in Georgia.  I am pleased to note that most of the findings show a positive dynamic in both national and regional media during this election. There is more balanced and diverse reporting and we hope that this helps the Georgian voter to make a more informed choice," said Janos Herman, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia.

The EU/UNDP election media monitoring is carried out by the three Georgian civil society organizations – Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, Internews – Georgia, and Civic Development Institute (CDI).  The monitoring was launched in June and will continue through November 2017.

The monitoring examines some major trends in media performance during elections and provides the quantitative and qualitative information on the coverage of candidates and electoral programmes, as well as on the cases of bias, discrimination and hate speech.

In the period from June 19 to October 8, media monitoring has registered an overall increase in the quality of election reporting in the Georgian media comparing to the results of the previous years. This positive trend was particularly noticeable in television talk-shows where all candidates had equal opportunities to introduce their electoral promises although most of talk-shows lacked critical discussion about the electoral programmes. Yet, some of the TV channels and newspapers were noticed in political bias as well as in using hate speech and discriminatory language. As in the previous years, online media often failed to separate editorial content from the commissioned articles.    

“It is encouraging to see the professional standard increasing in the Georgian media with each election round. Although, we still look forward to having even fewer cases of hate speech and more critical discussions on electoral programmes,” Niels Scott, Head of UNDP in Georgia, said. 

The European Union and UNDP have been supporting media monitoring in Georgia since 2010 aiming to promote media diversity and build the watchdog functions of civil society, especially at a time of elections. Since the launch of the first media monitoring rounds, this initiative has contributed to the media research during the five major elections in Georgia during 2010 – 2016.

The media monitoring reports are available online at: www.mediamonitor.ge

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