Social Media

Tbilisi Hangout: Live talk on all things related to Georgia

Starting from November 28, Every Wednesday at 20:00 (Tbilisi time) me and Nicholas Clayton will talk about current affairs of Georgia on Google Hangout. The live webcast is called Tbilisi Hangout and it is about politics, society, sports and whatever nonsense we find interesting. We are trying to make it as interactive as possible, hence you can ask questions or leave comments, decide what you would like to hear next week and also join us with your web camera. Occasionally we will be coming live from various locations like bars, offices, streets, etc. You can subscribe to this YouTube channel in order to be updated about upcoming hangouts.

Here’s the first Tbilisi Hangout. In this episode we talk about anti-Ivansivhili articles in western media, global amnesty, mandatory ID cards, Georgia rugby, etc. let us know what you think.

 

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Georgia: Netizens react to the Saakashvili-Ivanishvili Meeting

The President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and the leader of Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is set to become the Prime Minister of the country, met on October 9 at the presidential palace. The meeting, that was also attended by representatives of the current government and Georgian Dream coalition, lasted for about 35 minutes after which both Saakashvili and Ivanishvili gave commentaries to public. After the first images were out, Georgians on Facebook began to react. Some of them claimed that Ivanishvili looked mad, some wrote that Saakashvili looked sad, others said that the meeting looked like El Clasico (A football match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona), etc.

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Georgia: Virtual Parliamentary Speaker Election

Ahead of a parliamentary election in Georgia set for October 2012, David Bakradze, Chair of the current Parliament, is currently the most active member of the ruling party on Facebook. His official page, with 27,526 likes at time of writing, includes photos of visits and meetings as well as of his family. Bakradze has also launched a game called Elections where each person liking his page can run for position of virtual parliamentary chair.

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Abkhazia Presidential Candidate Sergei Shamba Goes Online

Three candidates are competing this week for a presidential post in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia. The Central Election Commission predicts 70% turnout on the ballot that will be held on August 26, 2011. According to BBC:

At least 130,000 people were registered to vote but, our correspondent says, an estimated 40,000 ethnic Georgians living in the region were mostly prevented from voting because they do not have Abkhaz passports.

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Georgia: Government 2.0

Also posted on Global Voices.

Various agencies and officials in the Georgian government are increasingly embracing social media and Web 2.0 tools in order to communicate with the country’s computerized population. As the technology develops and more Georgians join social media sites, it becomes clear that the government intends to directly connect with its citizens. The leading reformer in the region, Georgia follows a world-wide trend of digitization and e-government by taking concrete steps online.

For example, citizens can download the driver’s license preparation test from the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, register and declare their property on the Revenue Service’s website and, in February this year, Transparency International Georgia, with the support of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation in Georgia, launched Chemikucha.ge, a local version of the British FixMyStreet.com, an online platform enabling citizens to report problems such as potholes or garbage collection.

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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.