The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics is implementing the
monitoring of talk shows 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).
Monitors observe 14 TV Channel's primetime political talk shows and
the parts of the news programs which offer audience more than 10
minutes’ interview time with respondents. Monitoring is carried out
on the following TV channels: Public Broadcaster, Rustavi 2, Imedi,
Pirveli, Obiektivi, Ajara Public Broadcaster, TV Channel 25, Rioni,
Gurjaani, Guria, Kvemo Kartli, Trialeti, Odishi and Ninth Channel.
Out of the TV channels that are monitored, five channels are
national stations, while nine are regional. The monitoring started
on August 19, 2017. Part of the talk shows were first aired in
early September, and some even later. TV companies "Odishi" and
"Gurjaani" have not aired any talk shows. The given report reflects
the analysis of the programs that aired from August 19 to October
- Unlike 2016, national broadcasters offered a strictly scripted
talk show where all qualified election subjects were invited and
therefore the criteria of inviting guests to the program was clear.
If any of the candidates did not attend the program, the hosts were
informing the audience about it. In almost all cases, the balance
between the guests was preserved.
- In the talk shows, where the time was strictly defined for the
candidates to present their vision and opinions, the focus was on
the format of the program and not on the content. The proposed
format looked more like the presentation of candidates rather than
a typical talk show. However, this format contributed to equal
distribution of time among the reposndents.
- Apart from a rare exception, every candidate was provided equal
opportunity to present their campaign promises to the public, but
there was less critical discussion of the election programs.
- In general, the questions of the TV presenters were very broad
and did not derive from a specific election program. The hosts did
not ask critical and counter questions, so it remained unclear for
the voters whether the campaign promises of candidates were
- As during the 2016 elections, broad questions were asked, such
as: "What do you promise to the voters? What problem will you solve
first? How many mandates are you going to take in elections?" This
enabled the respondents to lead the discussion into the direction
convenient to them.
- The problem of the qualification of the TV presenters was
particularly noticeable on the regional channels, where there were
practically no critical questions asked.
- In general, regional broadcasters have significant technical
problems related to the voice, visual side, packaging of the
program. These problems make the programs less attractive to the
- Several cases of hate speech were observed, but such was mainly
used by the respondents. The hosts often reacted adequately. There
was one case when the host contributed to strengthening gender
- The TV company Obiektivi is different from any other channels.
Its program - "Night Studio" is a platform for the political party
Alliance of Patriots. The program mostly hosts the party members.
48 representatives of Alliance of Patriots visited the "Night
Studio" during the monitoring period and only one of the other
qualified subjects were invited to the program. The program is full
of anti-western and anti-Turkish rhetoric, hate speech, insulting
vocabulary and unanswered allegations against opponents.