Interim Report of Pre-election Media Monitoring

14 Sep, 2012

On September 14, Charter of Journalistic Ethics and Memo 98 published media monitoring results in the run-up to the elections.

The monitoring covered the period from July 1 to July 15, 2012 and from July 23 to August 5, 2012.  Monitors observed 11 TV channels during the prime time.

Charter of Journalistic Ethics and Memo 98 launched media monitoring on July 1, 2012 .  The key focus was made on the coverage of the election campaign. Six media monitors selected on the basis of a competition monitored 11 TV companies (Georgian Public Broadcaster, Rustavi 2, Imedi, Maestro, Kavkasia, Ninth Channel, Real TV, 25th Channel, Adjara TV, TV Rioni, Mega TV), including four regional broadcasters, for three months during the prime time (from 7 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. ). Monitors focused on the content rather than quantitative indicators. In particular, they monitored adherence to the journalistic ethics and professional standards that all journalists should observe in their reports.

Monitors used five different criteria to evaluate the observance of professional standards by journalists: a high professional standard, a good quality, a technically acceptable quality, a poor quality (with shortcomings indicated), very poor.

In terms of adequacy and topicality of the issues all TV companies are rated similarly highly.  Their rating ranges from “a good quality” to “high professional standards”.

Generally coverage provided by Public Broadcaster is rated “good”, which in a number of cases comes closer to a high professional standard. Monitors identified the fact of unbiased wording of questions by hosts of talk shows.

  • Rustavi 2 and Imedi – the quality is acceptable, however, they both have one of the most important indicators – balance – rated very low.
  • Real TV performance was lowest-rated. It should be emphasized that the channel was rated “poor quality” in such important components as distinguishing between facts and opinion, tone, balance.
  • The quality of performance of Maestro and Ninth Channel is close to “good”, however, unbiased wording of questions by hosts of political talk-shows would significantly increase the quality of unbiased reporting by journalists, for instance, in programs such as Matrix, Arguments and Direct Conversations (Pirdapiri Saubrebi). Moreover, the facts of not complete identification of sources were also revealed.
  • Kavkasia – despite lack of research materials and shortcomings in identifying sources, the channel stands out by providing high quality and balanced coverage of developments.  However, political talk-shows and especially hosts of the programs raise doubts regarding the unbiased coverage by the channel.
  • Achara – generally the quality of reporting by TV channel is rated between “poor” and “acceptable”. However, mostly its performance is rated “poor” when looking at such an important factors as distinguishing between facts and opinions, keeping balance, accuracy.
  •  25th Channel – rated “good quality”. However, it should focus on more accurate reporting of facts.
  •  Rioni – The quality of coverage is rated between “poor” and “acceptable”.  The monitors revealed discrepancies between the video materials and texts, as well as the facts of failure to keep the balance.
  •  Mega TV – Accurate evaluation is actually impossible, because of lack of news programs of the channel.

The final results of the monitoring will be published on 21 September.

“Charter of Journalistic Ethics will come up with final results in close cooperation with Memo 98.  The report will reveal the peculiarities of reporting by 11 Georgian TV channels in the run up to the elections and provide detailed analysis. Such an approach will secure more detailed picture.  Significant additional comments relating to the content analysis and evaluating balance, fairness, objectivity, accuracy, topicality and the scale of coverage will be provided in the final report,” says Tamar Kordzaia, head of Charter of Journalistic Ethics.

The monitoring is carried out with the support from the Open Society Georgia Foundation.

See detailed results of monitoring for each channel:

Report 1

Report 2

See media reports

Lack of Balance – Key Problem of Georgian TV Companies —