Media in Abkhazia
Media in Abkhazia consists of several TV channels, newspapers, magazines and radio stations. Some of them are government-owned, others are private. Apsnypress is the government information agency. Russian media are generally also available and is popular.
The first newspaper appeared in Abkhazia in 1917, Dmitry Gulia was its editor. It was succeeded by Apsny Kapsh (Red Abkhazia) in Soviet times. Alongside it there were numerous other publications in Abkhaz, Russian, Georgian, Armenian, Greek and Laz languages. The 1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhaz war which was followed by the exodus of a large share of the republic's population and a blockade had a profound effect on all the media, with only a few surviving it.
The most important channel is a state-run one, which is broadcast up to 6 hours a day, with 15-minute news in Abkhaz and Russian. It is the only local channel available all over the country. Abaza TV, the only private station, reaches only Sukhumi and its environs. It is owned by Beslan Butba and supported him during the 2009 presidential elections. Another private channel, Sukhum-TV existed in the capital in 2006, there are local TV stations in Gagra and Tkvarcheli.
There are two government and several private newspapers, published in Russian (predominantly) and Abkhaz. The circulation ranges from 1,000 to 5,000, most of the newspapers are weeklies. There is a degree a diversity, opposition media criticise the government over the wide range of issues such as Abkhazian-Russian relations and internal politics. Novy Den and Chegemskaya Pravda newspapers had a pro-opposition tone during the 2009 presidential elections. There have been several claims of harassment of journalists by the authorities. In September 2009, a court in Sukhumi gave journalist Anton Krivenyuk a three-year suspended sentence for allegedly libelling Bagapsh. Some Abkhazian journalists viewed this as an intimidation of opposition in the run-up to the elections.
Radio Soma is the only private radio station is very popular, broadcasting 24 hours a day, primarily music, but also carrying some news and, at times, live talk shows with invited guests. The state radio, like state TV, broadcasts for 3–4 hours a day.
- A Survey of Access to Information in Abkhazia and its Impact on People’s Lives, Article 19, June 2007
- Abkhazia Today, International Crisis Group, 15.09.2006
- Abkhazia: Deepening Dependence, International Crisis Group, 26.02.2010
- Абхазская литература. Литературная энциклопедия 1929—1939. (Abkhazian literature. Encyclopaedia of literature 1929-1939) (Russian)
- Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, ПРЕССА АБХАЗИИ (АПРЕЛЬ 2002) (Media of Abkhazia), 04/2002 (Russian)
- Abkhazia: Deepening Dependence, p. 13
- A Survey of Access to Information... , p. 15
- Abkhazia Today, p. 15
- A Survey of Access to Information... , p. 16
- Republika Abkhazia, Apsny, Ekho Abkhazii, Nuzhnaya Gazeta, Chegemskaya Pravda, Novy Den, Bzib, Gal per A Survey of Access to Information... , p. 16