February 1, 2018

Thomas Kent, President, RFE/RL
Nenad Pejic, Vice President, RFE/RL

Mr. President,
Mr. Vice President,

We, the undersigned CSOs, have been watching closely recent developments around the Georgian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Dismissal of David Kakabadze from the position of the Georgian Service Director has raised questions among Radio Liberty’s devoted audience. Resignation of Marina Vashakmadze, the Head of the local Bureau, has raised further concerns that the conflict between the management and the Georgian Service staff goes beyond trivial internal dispute and may have some deeper roots.

RFE/RL management has not released official statement regarding Mr. Kakabadze’s dismissal or the nature of the conflict. On January 25, Georgian citizens signed petition in support of the Georgian Service; Writers, musicians, publishers, artists and human rights activists addressed Broadcasting Board of Governors with an open letter. Obviously, public interest towards the issue is substantial.

We understand that Radio Liberty journalists abide by internal regulations of confidentiality and do not discuss internal matters publicly, but we urge RFE/RL management to shed the light to the issue and communicate with the interested public in an open and transparent way about the nature of the conflict and the future of RFE/RL Georgian Service.

Mr. President, in the earlier statement following the termination of two RFE/RL television programs by the Georgian Public Broadcaster, you asserted: “Both programs have made an important contribution to public discourse and political development in Georgia.” We are now concerned about the future of these two highly-acclaimed programs. For us, the dedicated viewers, it is not certain whether Giorgi Gvakharia’s Anareklebi will continue on Ajara Bublic Broadcaster or not. It is even more unclear why Salome Asatiani’s show has not been launched, especially that donor funding is available and Ajara Public Broadcaster’s is willing to air it.

In the era of fake news and hybrid wars good journalism faces serious challenges. For many of us the RFE/RL reporting in the Georgian language has been an example of the highest professional standards and journalistic ethics.

In many ways the Georgian Service and the local Bureau have been a trendsetter for journalism innovation in this country, be it publishing blogs, offering mobile reporting, or exploring multimedia formats.

We expect to be convinced by RFE/RL management that the journalism produced by this professional team is still in demand.


  • Georgian Young Lawyers Association
  • Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics
  • Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center
  • Institute for Development of Freedom of Information
  • Transparency International Georgia
  • Journalism Resource Center
  • Liberal Academy-Tbilisi Media
  • Advocacy Coalition Media Club
  • Open Society Georgia Foundation
  • Small and Medium Telecom Operators Association of Georgia .
The Charter of Journalistic Ethics sums up the results of its media monitoring

Tbilisi, 26 December 2017. Majority of media reports on children is superficial; in-depth reports on children constitute only one per cent of all the media product related to children – states the report on media monitoring conducted from April to December 2017 by the Charter of Journalistic Ethics, with UNICEF support.

Ninth general meeting of The Georgian Charter of Journalistic ethics was held on December 23. On the meeting 3 new members of Charter's board were chosen. Because of the expiration of the term, Maia Metskhvarishvili, Jaba Ananidze and Tazo Kupreishvili left the council. Instead, the following members were chosen: Editor of Liberali Lika Zakashvili (Tbilisi quota), Editor of Information Center Network – Gela Mtivlishvili and the editor of Adjara TV – Maia Merkviladze (Regional quota). Council members chose Giorgi Mgeladze as the head of the board again.

At the same meeting, the executive director, head of the council and revision commission presented Annual reports. Besides, Charter members discussed existing challenges and positive trends in the organization.
It has come to our knowledge that the Parliament of Georgia may follow the initiative proposed by the Ministry of Justice to amend the text of the new Constitution and lower the constitutional standard of access to public information.

The 2017 constitutional amendments retained the provision stating that access to public information may be restricted if the information is a state, commercial, professional or personal secret. This provision specified the types of classified information, while the state took the responsibility not to restrict access to public information without due substantiation. The Ministry of Justice has proposed removing this list of specific types of classified information and replacing it with a wording that is vague and legally faulty.

The Parliament of Georgia has stated that the constitutional amendments are aimed at reflecting the recommendations of the Venice Commission. The initiative proposed by the Ministry of Justice does not serve the same purpose, since the Venice Commission evaluated the Human Rights Chapter of the Constitution alone and did not issue any comments regarding the article the Ministry of Justice has proposed changes to. The Ministry also did not criticize this article in the spring of 2017, when the constitutional reform was ongoing.

October 19 - The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics presented first findings of the media monitoring of the 2017 Local Self-Government Elections in Georgia. 

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics is implementing the monitoring of TV news programs for coverage of the 2017 Local Government Elections within the framework of the project Study and Research on Election Media Coverage for 2017 Local Government Elections in Georgia supported by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics has filed a complaint regarding two materials prepared by Russian and Azerbaijani media to the Consultation Committee, which was created in order to fight against propaganda. The Commission was staffed with self-regulation council representatives from following countries – Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and Russia. The goal of the committee was to battle propaganda.

Against Russian

Charter’s first complaint addressed the materials published by, which informs, that because of inability of Georgian government to provide water and electricity, Georgian man has placed a bath in the city, as a form of a protest. In reality, this was a performance, that was covered by “Liberali”. The respondent states in the interview, that “The water is warm, I’ll now add cold water and lay in it again”. Mir24 translated his words as “I’m hot. It’s +35 degrees in my house and I can’t turn on the air conditioner because I don’t have electricity”.

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics deemed that the journalist used manipulation with political reasons. The material is propaganda, this is further proved by the fact, that the creators of this journalistic product are purposely falsifying the facts, in order to convey to the audience, that the social background in Georgia is very tough and that because of the Government’s inaction the population was left without water and electricity supply for days, which in turn made the population take baths publicly, in order to attract the Government’s attention.

It is clear, that the goal of creator of this journalistic product was to insult the image of a neighboring country, to demonstrate it as a country, that cannot provide basic living conditions to the population of its capital city.

Against Azerbaijani

Web-site has published a material “Anti-Azerbaijani underground movement in Tbilisi: Reveal, money, instructions”. The article evaluates the so called “Colorful revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine, the base of which were economic problems and low living standards, as a result of “western hegemony”, in turn the western hegemony is evaluated as a hazard, that causes destabilization. The article also notes, that Mikheil Saakashvili and organization “Kmara” were supporting destabilization of Azerbaijan, but Ilham Aliev managed to neutralize the Georgian revolutionary forces.

The article supports one of the main messages of anti-western propaganda – that behind the “Western conspiracy”/”Western hegemony” stood George Soros and non-governmental organization affiliated with him. It also states, that Tbilisi has harbored the Azerbaijani revolutionary organizations, that were planning to cause civil confrontation. The article also mentions Azerbaijani journalist Fagan Mukhtarli, who was kidnapped from Georgia. He was accused of affiliating with organizations who were has “hostile” attitude against Azerbaijan.

The Georgian Journalistic Charter deems, that the material intends to cause hostile attitudes between two countries, as it placates Georgia as a country that has hostile intentions towards Azerbaijan, where anti-Azerbaijani actions and civil wars are being planned. None of the facts mentioned in the article have been verified against any source, that causes a doubt, that they’re mostly false and a result of the journalist’s imagination. "The West” and the NGO-s supported by the west are described as enemies, that cause the destabilization of countries.


The self-regulation council committee against propaganda was formed with support from European Union. The representatives of Councils have accepted the Way of case administration in 2016. Thanks to the committee, any citizen can file a complaint if they think that the media of any member country is using manipulation or hate-speech. Any member self-regulation body has a representative in the committee. The Charter, who is also a member of the committee, is represented by Maia Metskhvarishvili. Complaint of Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics is the first, which the committee will review in recent history.


The 8th general meeting of the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics was held December 24, 2016 at Tbilisi Marriott hotel.
On 16-17 June 2016, the Council of Europe (CoE) in partnership with the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics hold the Annual Meeting of Regional Network of Self-regulatory Bodies.


The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics with the support of UNICEF has launched a new phase of monitoring of reporting on children in the Georgian media.
A video containing a call for terrorism and violence was spread November 23. Several media outlets have spread the appeals unaltered. Society is entitled to receive information on possible violence or other danger. Ho