EU-funded EUR 450,000 program for a large-scale monitoring of how the Georgian media outlets will be covering October parliamentary elections, as well presidential elections later next year, was announced on April 25.
The project, implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) with its local partners, aims at creating “transparent, objective and balanced media environment” in Georgia, EU and UNDP representatives said at a presentation in Tbilisi.
The project is built on an experience of a similar media monitoring, which was also funded by EU and implemented by UNDP, ahead of the 2010 local self-governance elections.
At the time main news bulletins and selected talk shows on three largest nationwide broadcasters - public broadcaster's First Channel; Rustavi 2 TV and Imedi TV and three Tbilisi-based stations, whose area of coverage is limited mainly with the capital city, Kavkasia TV; Maestro TV and Real TV, were monitored.
Apart of quantitative survey on how much of their airtime TV stations were dedicating to Tbilisi mayoral candidates and their respective parties, the 2010 project was also providing qualitative monitoring about "tone of coverage" of candidates by the media outlets.
The scope of the new project will be much broader and this time it will involve dozens of media sources, including TV and radio stations, as well as print and online publications.
Four local organizations have been hired for the monitoring purposes: Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) will be in charge of monitoring of TV stations; Internews Georgia will be monitoring radio stations; International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) – the print media and Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) – web-based news sources.
The results of the media monitoring will be discussed in a weekly television talk-show, Media Monitor, that will be aired by the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) on Mondays, starting from June 11.
“Media monitoring enhances the links between the media and society, and helps the public make informed decisions,” Jamie McGoldrick, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia said on April 25. “If media can shape a society, then credible and unbiased monitoring can shape the media.”
“The European Union will continue to assist the efforts of the civil society in Georgia to monitor and analyze the media and inform the public about its performance. It is important to make it clear what the democratic standards are and to assure that they are met; the more the better. Fair monitoring can create grounds for the general acceptance of both – the rules and the results,” Philip Dimitrov, Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia, said.