Communications Commission: Georgian Public Broadcaster Conducted Unbiased Coverage of the Pre-Election Period in Full Compliance with Journalistic Standards
The Communications Commission is publishing the third media monitoring report for the Georgian parliamentary elections, which includes qualitative and quantitative analysis of broadcasters during the reporting period of 1-21 November. As was the case in September and October, coverage of the second round of elections was conducted in accordance with the ethical norms by the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Rustavi 2 and Adjara TV, while Imedi, Mtavari Arkhi and TV Pirveli conducted biased coverage.
The Georgian Public Broadcaster maintained ethical and professional standards, while its news programmes covered all the important socio-political events taking place across the country. Presenters and journalists posed critical questions and did not display bias towards any political party, ensuring that the electorate was well-informed.
During the second round of the elections, TV Pirveli maintained its extremely negative tone towards the government and the ruling party. The loyalty of the channel towards opposition parties became more blatant. Cases of manipulation and violation of ethical norms were identified. One-sided and biased reporting became the norm. Journalists once again attempted to present their personal views and assumptions as facts and to spread fake news.
Throughout the reporting period, Mtavari Arkhi displayed a blatantly positive attitude towards the opposition. Journalists made political addresses, while presenters continued to make use of hate speech, coarse language and aggressive statements. As was the case in the previous reporting period, the channel broadcasted unverified information that was based on anonymous sources.
As was the case in the previous monitoring periods, Teleimedi mainly displayed a positive attitude towards the government and the ruling party, and a highly negative attitude towards the opposition, especially the members of United Opposition “Strength is in Unity.” Opposition politicians themselves were rarely given the opportunity to express their views.
The broadcasting company Rustavi 2 continued to conduct coverage in accordance with ethical standards. Balance was maintained on the programmes. Journalists refrained from using insults or discriminatory vocabulary.
Journalists of Adjara TV conducted news coverage largely in accordance with ethical standards. The main news programme was largely diverse and balanced in terms of opinions and guests.
The Communications Commission applied pre-election media monitoring to six national broadcasters – First Channel of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Rustavi-2, Teleimedi, TV Pirveli and Mtavari Arkhi, while quantitative monitoring applied to around 50 broadcasting channels. Monitoring was carried out during the prime time period between 19:00 and 00:00 each day based on the following broadcasting standards: balance, accuracy, relevance, omission of important information, hate speech, misinformation, discrimination and manipulation of visual/audio materials.
The Communications Commission conducted the media monitoring process in accordance with international standards. Monitors were trained by the Council of Europe media expert and Executive Director of the media monitoring organisation Memo 98, Rasto Kuzel.