Georgia - Media Landscape
|Suffrage||Universal; 18 yrs of age|
|Area||69. 700 sq km|
|Total imports (%EU)||€2.9 bn (2006) (33%)|
|Total exports (%EU)||€1.5 bn (2006) (26%)|
|GDP||€4.9 bn (2006)|
|GDP per capita||€1.145 (2006)|
|Internet users (per 1000 people)||70 (2007)|
|Languages||Georgian 71% (official), Russian, Armenian, Azeri, other. Note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia|
Historically, until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, all Georgian media was party-sponsored. The first non-party paper, 7 Dghe, was founded in 1990 and sponsored by the Journalists’ Association.
A comprehensive, independent press sector is still growing. In November, 2007, Reporters Without Borders expressed concern about the suspension of news programmes on private TV stations during a state of emergency, as well as the closure of Imedi TV, which leaned toward opposition perspectives.
According to the American NGO Freedom House, the Georgian broadcast media still suffer from some form of self-censorship. This is in part due to the absence of a clear political opposition which could provide alternative views to government position.
Newspapers are not as important a source of information for most Georgians as television. Some regional newspapers have a higher circulation and are more often read then national newspapers. Examples include the Batumelebi in the Adjara region. The main national newspapers are 24 hours, Rezonansi, Alia and Kviris Palitra. A central obstacle lies with the distribution of printed press, which makes it hard for the news to be delivered to its readers within a reasonable time frame. Although the circulation of newspapers is low, readership is high. Newspapers are often passed on after they are read, and thereby a greater audience is reached.
Most Georgians get their news from the television. Dozens of cable television operators and a handful of major commercial stations compete for a share in the growing advertisement market. A public broadcaster, Georgian Public Broadcasting, has replaced the former state radio and TV stations. The state has relinquished other media assets as well, including newspapers and a news agency. Around 40 stations, including municipal channels, broadcast in Georgia. Yet, the quality of these local stations and their budgets for staff and technology are often low.
National TV stations are better equipped. The station Rustavi 2 played an important role in the Rose Revolution. The only broadcaster willing to stand up to the government and inform the public about vote fraud and the protests that followed, Rustavi 2, sparked mass mobilisation of the population. However, Rustavi 2 is now often criticised and said to have formed into a mouthpiece of the government. The exact status of Rustavi 2 is at present unclear. No one exactly knows who the current owner is.
The station Imedi was suspended by a court, but has recently started broadcasting again. Yet, the station does not deliver news anymore.
Radio reach varies in Georgia. During the Soviet era, the radio was not used as a medium of communication. Therefore, consistent listening patterns were thus not established. A number of independent radio stations broadcast on AM and FM frequencies, but most of their programming consists of music. Radio Fortuna has the largest audience, with more than 620.000 listeners. Other popular radio stations include:Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Greenwave and Radio Imedi.
Important sources of information include Media.ge, which is sponsored by the OSCE mission in Georgia, and Civil.ge, which is run by the NGO United Nations Association of Georgia. Humanrights.ge is a daily online-newspaper dedicated to supporting the development of independent media, creating a network of human rights journalists and conducting journalistic investigations on human rights.
Learning and support
The Tbilisi State University offers a bachelor’s degree in journalism. The Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs offers a two-year English/Georgian master’s programme in journalism. In 2007 the Caucasus School of Media was established. It offers a more progressive style of journalism training.
Independent Association of Georgian Journalists was created in order to solve the issues concerning Journalists’ professional activities, also to protect pluralistic democracy and internationally recognized human rights. The IAGJ is independent from all kinds of ideological, governmental, political and religious bodies.
Internews has a trilingual (English, Georgia, and Russian) site dedicated to all aspects of media in Georgia and the growth of independent journalism in that country. Included are up-to-the-minute print news reports and basic information on all media in the Republic.
- Reporters without Borders
- Press Reference
- Freedom Info
- Freedom Info Country Profile
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- Inter Press
- Prime News Online
0105, 28, Leselidze Street
Tel.:+995 32 9232 63,
Fax:+995 329 232 63
Tbilisi State University
1 Ilia Chavchavadze Avenue
I TSU building