Pre election media monitoring results published

28 Sep, 2012



On September 28, the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics and Memo 98, a Slovak organization, published the results of pre election media monitoring covering the period from July 1 through September 28. Foreign media experts Baqer Moin and Marek Mracka from Memo 98 evaluated editorial issues of 11 Georgian broadcasters (Public Broadcaster, Imedi, Rustavi 2, Real TV, Maestro, TV-9, Cavkasia, Adjara, 25th Channel, Rioni, Mega TV. As part of the project only the prime time is monitored (from 7 p.m. to 12 p.m.).

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics has monitored newscasts, political talk shows and funny TV shows broadcast during this time.

The project has been supported by the Open Society Georgia Foundation.

Brief version of the report:

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics monitored 11 TV channels in July, August and September for accuracy, variety of views, relevance, duration, tone, language, impartiality, balance and investigative output.

There were many positive aspects and gradual improvements in the broadcasts monitored. Despite their different orientations and editorial policies, most TV stations attempted to adhere to the spirit of the above categories. However, there are areas that require serious attention by the broadcasters for future improvement. 

  • Public and private broadcasters aired various election-related programs and talk shows, thus enabling voters to compare candidates and parties. Most of the monitored TV channels, with exception of GPB and Kavkasia, however, did not provide balanced news coverage of the campaign. As such, voters could only form an objective view if they watched several channels.
  • The Georgian TV channels, divided by editorial lines, generally displayed their inability to set the tone of the debate in the pre-election campaign.
  • There was a general lack of analytical coverage of the campaign, in particular regarding the authorities’ performance.
  • The prison episode demonstrated the impact of the media, at the same time, it showed that self-regulation failed to ensure citizens’ right for privacy upheld.

 As a public broadcaster, GPB is expected to cover the elections and other events of public interest comprehensively, accurately, and impartially. Its initial reports on the pre- elections campaign reflected more the government’s position. However, in terms of duration and variety it gradually offered more stories and scope to other political actors and trends. Later on, in the election campaign, its output further improved in terms of quality and accuracy of news as well as its range of comments and views. On occasions it failed to carry the news of major issues or in time. Some of its programmes, and in particular its talk shows were lacking proper research and balance.

Rustavi 2 is a dynamic private broadcaster. It offered a range of election news and views with positive approach towards the ruling party and its allies, but did not balance its output by giving comparable coverage to the opposition. Rustavi 2, in its talk shows allocated its air time fairly amongst the participants; however, handling the talk shows remained a problem.  

Imedi, another private broadcaster, presented wide range of stories on elections, but its approach was openly in favour of the ruling party. Neither Rustavi nor Imedi examined the records of the government in depth but they focused on the shortcomings of the opposition.

Real TV, another private station, enhanced its output as the elections day approached, but often failed to support its reports with facts. It did not balance its output and was openly anti-Georgian Dream.

Channel 9, also a private station, offered timely and extensive news.  It separated facts from comments but reported the government activities in a critical way.. The quality of the hosts varied, some were well prepared, while others were not fully in charge of the topic discussed.

Maestro‘s coverage was relatively balanced and it also managed to cover both central and regional affairs. It offered detailed news, but it was focused more on covering critically the ruling party.  Editorial and production problem of talk shows remained an issue.

Kavkasia‘s news was of high quality, it had variety and identified its sources and had good choice of topics. On occasions, the tone and the balance of the output had problems. The quality of the talk shows was undermined by its presentation and the partial language employed.

Adjara, a regional TV, was good at choice of topics and news items which were mostly factual; however, it was openly bias in favour of the government and was critical of the opposition.

25th channel was good at choosing the right topics in its news and separating facts from comments. However, the stories were not well researched and lacked depth. The channel balanced its programmes and presented the government and the opposition in equal measure, not showing bias.

Rioni TV focused on local news, but not necessarily on issues of public importance. Its programmes were generally factual but lacked research, depth and balance. In its political talk shows, however, the channel showed some preparedness and awareness of the topics under discussion with journalist keeping their impartiality.

Mega TV, with it’s twice a week programme, produced news items of acceptable quality, but at times missed stories of importance.  It also did not separate facts and comments.


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