Negative coverage of election candidates becomes a common trend in the Georgian media. The amount of hate speech has significantly reduced on televisions but remains a challenge for the print press and some of the online editions. Radios are more likely to show signs of political bias in 2018, comparing with the election cycles in previous years.
These and other findings were presented at a press conference on 25 October 2018 where the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) unveiled the interim reports of the ongoing media monitoring of 2018 Presidential Elections in Georgia.
"Good and diverse media reporting is critical for the voters to make an informed choice during elections. The EU's support to media monitoring reflects our commitment to strengthening democracy in Georgia," said Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia.
Munkhtuya Altangerel, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, stressed the importance of analytical discussion on the electoral programmes.
“Media monitoring shows that professional standard of the Georgian media is increasing with each election. However, we still look forward to seeing in-depth analysis of the electoral programmes that would help Georgian voters in casting their votes,” she said.
The 2018 election media monitoring was kicked off on 18 June and will continue till the immediate aftermath of the elections, covering thirty-seven TV, radio, print and online national media outlets. Its interim reports refer to the period of 18 June – 15 October and capture all major trends in election coverage. The final reports will be released in December 2018.
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 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 six major elections in Georgia in 2010 – 2017.
The media monitoring reports are available online at www.mediamonitor.ge