2017 Self-Government Elections - Interim Report of TV News Media Monitoring
06.11.2017
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 monitors had been observing the news releases of the 14 TV channels in prime time. The monitoring had been carried out on the following TV channels: The Public Broadcaster, Rustavi 2, Imedi, the First Channel, Obieqtivi, Ajara TV, Channel 25, Rioni, Gurjaani, Guria, Kvemo Kartli, Trialeti, Odishi and Ninth Channel. Five of these TV channels are national and nine are regional. This report reflects quantitative and qualitative analyses of the major news programs during the period of June 19 through October 8.

Full Report

Key Findings:

  • Local and central governments were covered the most.
  • The local government was covered most positively by Guria TV with 19% of positive tone indicator. Rustavi 2 was the most critical of the local government with 49% negative coverage of the allocated time.
  • The central government was most positively covered by Gurjaani TV (29%) and most negatively by Rustavi 2 (46%).
  • Most of the time among the political parties was allocated to the Georgian Dream, with the National Movement and the European Georgia following.
  • The Georgian Dream was most positively covered by Gurjaani TV (24%) and most negatively by Rustavi 2 (40%).
  • The National Movement was most positively covered by Gurjaani TV (30%) and most negatively by Obieqtivi TV (66%).
  • All TV channels allocated the most time to central and local governments and the two major political parties (Georgian Dream and the National Movement). However, TV Obiektivi was an exception. It devoted almost the same amount of time to the political party Alliance of Patriots and the Georgian Dream; the party also had the most positive coverage on this TV channel (9%).
  • Rustavi 2 was the most critical of the local and the central governments. This was also revealed in qualitative analysis. Critical stories were most frequently broadcasted on Rustavi 2.
  • However, apparent sympathy towards the National Movement and its mayoral candidate was demonstrated on Rustavi 2.
  • The Public Broadcaster and the TV Company Imedi were characterized by soft approach towards the government with no strong watchdog function demonstrated.
  • The Ajara Public Broadcaster was outstanding in terms of observing ethical principles and impartiality.
  • TV Company Obieqtivi was distinguished by the biased coverage in favor of the Alliance of Patriots.
  • Hate speech and inappropriate language was much less frequently used in the news programs compared to the previous years. Obieqtivi was the only TV channel where the xenophobic content was detected.
  • As in the previous years, in-depth coverage on issues related to elections, that would help voters in making informed choice, was lacking on almost all the channels.
  • Compared to the previous year, reporting was more balanced and fewer violations were detected in this regard; however, the so called short footages with sound bites were not always balanced.
  • The news programs were not always regularly broadcast on regional channels. In cases, the schedule of programs was unstable and sometimes there was no news program for several days.
  • The regional channels often used video materials prepared by the government press offices without any clear reference to their origin.
  • The advertising content was detected in news programs of several regional TV channels, which is inadmissible.
  • The regional channels have technical problems, including the low quality of voice and footages; absence of titles also remains a problem.
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