The Georgian Media Landscape: Old Challenges and Possible New Solutions
On May 3, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) with the financial support of the European Union organized a conference ”The Georgian Media Landscape: Old Challenges and Possible New Solutions”, to mark World Press Freedom Day.
In his welcoming speech at the conference, the EU Ambassador to Georgia stated that the purpose of such conferences is to reach agreements on key issues and challenges in the media, such as polarizing the media, improving media literacy skills, more effective self-regulation, more independent editorial policy, combating hate speech and misinformation, or improving access to information. Also, hopefully, possible ways of solving these issues can be identified. Mr. Ambassador noted that this year, World Press Freedom Day is being celebrated in the wake of the ongoing war in Ukraine and commended the selfless and courageous work of Ukrainian journalists. They have become targets, they are threatened and killed while fulfilling their professional duties - working and fighting to awaken the world.
ISFED Executive Director, Nino Dolidze said at the opening of the event: "Against the backdrop of the rapid reversal of democracy in Georgia, where free institutions are under attack, the media is playing a key role in restraining it, despite the serious challenges it faces today."
The presentation of the overview on the media environment in Georgia and possible ways to solve problems was held at the conference. The study addresses key challenges: journalist safety, polarization, ethics issues, access to information, etc.; Also, issues of self-regulation in the context of the Kremlin's openly supporting media outlets.
The initiative to establish a joint co-regulatory body by broadcasters was discussed at the meeting. The introduction of a co-regulatory mechanism implies the establishment of an appeals board, which will appeal against decisions made in the first instance of self-regulation on violations of journalistic ethics standards. This mechanism envisages the involvement of the regulatory body, broadcasters and civil society.
The second part of the conference was devoted to discussing the media as means of propaganda in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The topic of discussion was a change in approach to the Russian state media in the EU and Georgia's readiness for the challenges posed by the Kremlin's outspoken media.