Media of Georgia
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The Media in Georgia is relatively accessible and caters to a wide variety of audiences. A large percentage of households have a television, and most have at least one radio. The large majority of Georgia’s media companies (including television, newspaper and radio) are headquartered in Tbilisi.
One of the most popular networks is Rustavi 2 which gained considerable fame after its coverage of the Rose Revolution. The station currently reaches around 84% of the country's population, as well as Europe, the European part of Russia and the Middle East via satellite. The station was long seen as a thorn in the side of the Eduard Shevardnadze government, frequently reporting on corruption and human rights abuses. In 2001 a security police raid on Rustavi 2 resulted in mass street demonstrations against governments pressure - causing Eduard Shevardnadze to fire his entire cabinet.
There are several major television broadcasters, since 2008, Rustavi 2, GPB, Imedi TV, Maestro TV, TV 9, Caucasia. According to the latest researches (as of 2012-2013), the most balanced news coverage is distributed by Georgian Public Broadcaster. The information and political talk shows tend to be rather diverse and polarized, concerning political views and parties.
Whilst the authorities finance some publications, there are some 200 privately owned newspapers. Most of these are based in Tbilisi, which is home to a number of newspaper publishing houses. Some of the most noteworthy Georgian newspapers include the daily 24 Saati (24 Hours), Rezonansi (Resonance), Alia, Akhali Taoba, and English-language newspapers Georgian Messenger, The FINANCIAL (weekly), Georgia Today (weekly), The Georgian Times (weekly).
Out of the city’s radio stations Imedi Radio (105.9FM), Fortuna, and Radio 105 are some of the more influential competitors with large national audiences. Imedi mainly concentrates on news and analytical coverage but broadcasts pop music as well, particularly at night-time.
Censorship And Freedom
According to Reporters Without Borders in 2005, Georgia is in 89th position on a list of countries ranked by Press Freedom; behind Moldova (85th) and Mongolia (86th) - both countries deemed to be in transition to Democracy from Communism. This ranking is primarily due to the limited diversity in media ownership, and self-censorship. However concerns over governmental censorship have emerged.
During the Sandro Girgvliani Murder Case the influential media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, owner of Imedi, stated that the Georgian authorities were mounting pressure on his station and other businesses after it had broadcast details of the scandal. "It is no secret that Imedi television was the first one which reported the circumstances of Sandro Girgvliani’s murder...this alone became a reason for the authorities’ dissatisfaction, which triggered the financial authorities to actively launch a probe into my businesses and my companies so [as] to force me to mount pressure against [my] journalists..and facilitate the creation of a favorable image of the authorities," Badri Patarkatsishvili went on to say that he would never yield to pressure from the authorities.
In addition, on July 6 Eka Khoperia, an anchor with Rustavi 2, announced during her live program that she was resigning, after refusing to follow instructions from the authorities.
On 27 March 2012, the editor of Forbes Georgia Revaz Sakevarishvili resigned because of alleged censorship, claiming that "there has been quite a serious attempt to put pressure and establish censorship." According to Sakevarishvili, the owners of the Media Partners, the holding company which owns publishing rights to Forbes Georgia had actively tried to alter materials about opposition parties or prevent their publication altogether.
|This article is outdated. (May 2009)|