Media

Five mistakes of Georgia reporting

This post was inspired by Five Worst Clichés of Russia Reporting.

For past couple of years Georgia is in western media almost every week, if not many times a week. Most of the coverage is about Georgia’s reforms, its food & wines, Georgia as a tourism destination, 2008 Georgia-Russia War, etc. and etc. Those articles later appear in local media: “Another article on Georgian reforms in NYTimes” or “Financial Times about Georgia’s economic growth.” And of course all of this coverage makes Georgians happy just like any other mention on web, for example this:

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Flash flood kills 5 in Georgia

Flash flood has killed at least 5 in Georgia’s capital – Tbilisi on Sunday, May 13. A heavy rain caused river Mtkvari to swell that swept through several districts of  the capital. According to latest reports heaviest damage was taken at Tbilisi’s Ortachala district where 5 died and 3 are still missing. Electricity was cut off for several thousands of Tbilisians, and according to the official sources 8 villages are isolated in Georgia’s Dusheti region.

A screengrab from RealTV’s live broadcast, which was the only TV station covering the story live.

An image of Tbilisi’s Saburtalo district. Photo from ireporter.ge

Rescuers trying to evacuate residents of Ortachala. Photo from Tamuna Mirianashvili

And finally here’s a video that shows what was on air on Georgian TV channels while the rain and flood was sweeping Tbilisi. As said above, RealTV was the only channel that was live from the scene until it stopped to rain.

World Press Freedom Day marked by a protest in Georgia [PHOTO/VIDEO]

World Press Freedom Day, May 3 was marked by a protest in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. Journalists, bloggers and NGO representatives gathered on Rustaveli ave., where a staged funeral of Georgian media took place. Some of the protesters brought posters saying “we deserve free media”, “media is not your monkey”, etc. The protest was joined by a group of young Georgians who demand an investigation of a recent suspicious prison death. Here are some photos and a video of the funeral:

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Freedom House lists Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separate countries

Freedom House, Washington D.C. based democracy and human rights advocate has recently released its Freedom of Press in 2012 Findings. The report highlights key developments in global press freedom over the last year, including improvements in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and crackdowns in authoritarian states. The annual report includes findings in 197 countries and territories.

Media in Georgia, according to the report is partly free and out of all the countries it’s on 111st place, which makes it a leader in the region (Turkey is 117th, Armenia 149th, Azerbaijan and Russia 172nd).

Freedom House website gives separate findings and articles about each state. Interestingly, under the list of countries in Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Along with Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria) are listed as separate countries.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Georgia’s disputed regions that are recognized independent by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, the rest of the world considers it as a part of Georgia. With more than 200,000 IDPs, the conflict is still unresolved and Georgia officially refers to these regions as “Occupied Territories”.

Georgia: Journalists dismissed because of Facebook hate speech

Also Posted on Global Voices

On 18 March 2011, the Georgian Public Broadcaster dismissed two of its journalists, Giorgi Tukhareli and Giorgi Gabrichidze, because of offensive comments they made on Facebook against homosexuals as well as the Vatican and the Catholic Church. The journalists wrote the remarks on the wall of a page, I don’t love my Patriarch, but even if the comments later disappeared, someone managed to take a screenshot to post on the Internet.

According to reports, Gabrichidze and Tukhareli resigned themselves, and Vakho Sanaia, the anchor of a program they worked on, personally met them. He said that it would be impossible for him to work with them again in the future. “Their comments are incompatible with our values and work style,” Vakho Sanaia told Media.ge. “The journalists quit themselves, and that’s what I wished.” Sanaia also said that he would not have worked with them from the beginning had he known that they were homophobes.

“I’m shocked. I could not believe until I saw it with my own eyes. Both Gabrichidze and Tukhareli were some of the best journalists and they have proven that many times by risking their lives to cover recent events in Egypt. Despite all this, program has its image, which has been jeopardized. We condemn this kind of action from journalists even if they write it on their Facebook wall,” Rusudan Vashakidze, the Producer of the program, told Onlinenews.ge.

According to Netgazeti.ge, Vashakidze talked to Gabrichidze over the phone and later denied claims that his profile had been hacked, while those responsible for the program they worked on said that Facebookis a public space and journalists had to understand that everything they wrote would negatively affect them. Gabrichidze and Tukhareli violated the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s code of ethics and therefore had to quit.

Meanwhile, with 516,300 Facebook users in the country, the largest penetration for the social networking site in the region, many agree with Vashakidze, saying that Facebook is indeed a public space and what Gabrichidze and Tukhareli did was wrong. Vakho Sanaia’s Reportage is a weekly overview of events and subjects in and outside of Georgia. Gabrichidze joined the program a year ago, and Tukhareli was hired in September.