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Human Rights Center’s Media Monitors in the TV-Program “Media Monitor”



Media-monitors from the Human Rights Center Aleko Tskitishvili and Shorena Latatia spoke about monitoring results in the TV-program Media Monitor of the Public Broadcaster. They had monitored how judiciary and environmental issues were reported by Georgian media.

The Human Rights Center conducted monitoring of reporting about environmental and judiciary issues in the Georgian media between May 30 and December 31, 2011. The monitoring covered a study of the following media outlets: the Alia, Resonansi (Resonance), Akhali Taoba (New Generation) newspapers and the main daily TV news program, Moambe, on the Public Broadcaster channel.

The research was carried out under a UNDP project, Development of Media Monitoring Capacities in Georgia, funded by the European Union. Final reports were already published on the Human Rights Center’s website: humanrights.ge (see: http://www.humanrights.ge/index.php?a=main&pid=14864&lang=eng )http://www.humanrights.ge/admin/editor/uploads/pdf/HRC_Environment_ENG.pdf

The content of the Reports is sol e responsibility of the media-monitors of the Human Rights Center and it might not reflect the position of the EU, UN and UNDP.

Together with the media-monitors of the Human Rights Center, lawyer of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Eka Popkhadze, law expert Kakha Tsikarishvili, coordinator of the Caucasian Environmental NGO Network Rezo Getiashvili and co-chair of the Green Movement – Earth Friends Nino Chkhobadze also took part in the TV-Program.

The media-monitors from the Human Rights Center spoke about quantitative and qualitative data gathered during the monitoring process.

Media-monitors think, that the selected media outlets have problems that are connected to the reporting about judiciary issues and the upholding of professional standards. Materials that were published in the newspapers or aired by the TV channel were frequently unbalanced and partial with no demonstrated separation between facts and opinions. Another problem concerns the professionalism of the journalists. Very often, they are not familiar with legal regulations and the subject of the report. Sometimes they mix up legal terms. Violation of the presumption of innocence principle was also exposed in Alia and Moambe.

The main news program Moambe (Public Broadcaster TV channel) often used pieces of information released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office. In their reports about criminal cases, journalists presented video materials that were produced by police agencies. They fully shared any official accusations and versions of events. Journalists commonly acted as accusers and violated the presumption of innocence principle.

Analysis of the data revealed that, unlike Resonansi (Resonance) and Akhali Taoba (New Generation), Alia lacked academic style. It became especially evident with the texts of the interviews which resembled a chat between friends.

Media monitoring revealed that journalists report about environmental issues in a very superficial way and offer no critical analysis and in-depth study of the subject. The monitors of the Human Rights Center think, it is possible that such articles or TV reports are not profitable from a commercial point of view but, despite this argument, the media have to give more attention to such issues and discuss them in a more serious way. This approach is especially applicable in the case of the Public Broadcaster, as the channel is not a profit-oriented one which must focus on advertisers and viewer rating. Funding for the Public Broadcaster is provided by the government and its accountability to society is correspondingly higher.

Media monitoring showed that Public Broadcaster allocates a very small amount of time and attention to the discussion of environmental issues. Journalists report in a very superficial way and offer no critical analysis and in-depth study of the subject. Moambe never used opposition parties as a source of information during the first two phases of the nineteen-week monitoring.

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