Project Dates: February 2010 - Juin 2011
IREX Europe is implementing the 18-month Independent Media Strengthening Programme for Georgia in collaboration with the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), key Georgian media experts, the Georgian Regional Media Association and the Civic Development Institute, the project will support the independent media’s role in a hoped for “second wave of democratization” in Georgia.
Five years after the Rose Revolution and in the aftermath of the 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia, there is a strong need to support media independence in Georgia. Major national commercial TV stations and the public broadcaster are closely controlled by the government, independent newspapers and smaller broadcasters are threatened and marginalized, and journalists themselves are fearful, divided and confused.
However, regional newspapers and radio stations, and in isolated cases regional televisions, have achieved some success in maintaining their independence, continuing to expose corruption and human rights violations and cover problems of national importance. There also has been progress in self-organization of the media on the professional and industry levels. Although the national TV association collapsed, the associations of regional newspapers and regional TV stations continue to work to increase their support to members, as does the national newspaper association to a lesser extent.
Steps also are being taken to form a legitimate professional association for journalists around an ethics charter. New media technologies hold promise as well, both to bolster existing media outlets and to open additional avenues for disseminating news and information and engaging Georgians, particularly the younger generation, in productive dialogue. With more competition among Internet providers, access has become more affordable in both Tbilisi and the regions and the number of users is increasing steadily.
This potential has yet to be fully utilized, with few outlets operating effective multimedia websites, limited electronic-only publications, and inadequate blogging and other “new media” skills among professional journalists. The potential input from citizen journalists remains untapped. The project will also work to support a weak media in a weak market, helping raise the managerial and professional capacity of key independent partners.
The project will be implemented in partnership with Georgian media NGOs, allowing them to develop institutional capacity while providing services valued by their constituencies. These services will improve the viability of independent outlets through better business management and more professional content. Collaborative efforts among journalists from different media outlets will be supported to produce in-depth reporting on a range of public issues, including democratization and the consequences of conflict. Journalists will work in print, sound and video and expand into new platforms such as on-line, podcasting and mobile telephones that extend their outlets’ audience reach, improving their market position and making Georgian media more independent and interactive with citizens.
Results to be achieved
Strengthened associations and support organizations advocating for media freedom, respect of ethical standards and reform of media legislation
Better management and business development capacities of independent media
High quality, in-depth content that improves independent media outlets’ position in the market while meeting citizens’ needs for information on critical public issues
Expansion of new media technology to improve access of citizens to professional and independent media content supporting political stability and further democratization
To learn more about WAN/IFRA’s workshop on creating and developing new media platforms:
Georgian Media Adapts to Meet Changing Audience Demands
Other IREX Europe projects in Georgia
Development of media monitoring capacities
Completed IREX Europe projects in Georgia
Making Waves: A Community Radio Project