Partisan divisions define election reporting in Georgian media

Published in Society
Tuesday, 14 December 2021 16:03

The EU and UNDP release the final media monitoring report of the 2021 local self-governance elections in Georgia

TBILISI. 14 December 2021 – The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, Internews Georgia and CRRC-Georgia, are monitoring media coverage of the 2021 municipal elections in Georgia. The interim reports released today analyse the coverage across 54 media outlets (27 national and 27 regional) from 5 July through 14 November 2021.

Findings show that, in the monitoring period, Georgian media was efficient and swift in covering electoral developments. Journalists provided voters with timely and diverse information, closely followed the events and reached out to a wide circle of respondents.

The rise in partisan polarization affected election reporting across almost all media sectors. Events surrounding homophobic pogroms in July, violent attacks on journalists and the imprisonment of Georgia’s third President in October dominated the media agenda. Interpretation of these developments varied depending on the editorial preferences of media outlets.

Tensions between media camps have been especially evident in broadcast media – televisions and radios. Most of the monitored media outlets manipulated their audiences by backing certain political forces and demeaning others.

Two televisions hosted election debates in the runup to election day. This achievement was somewhat diminished by the reluctance to ask critical questions and by the lack of an adequate response to homophobic and xenophobic statements by some of the candidates.

Ethical journalism standards were relatively respected during the pre-election period but dropped down closer to election day and runoffs. Unethical reporting prevailed in the national print media which used offensive language and unverified sources of information. In contrast to that, regional and local newspapers offered a more balanced account of events and a diversity of opinions.

Fewer cases of gender-discriminatory language were registered during the monitoring period across all media sectors.

Political bias was notably less evident across the digital media sector. Most of the national and regional digital media outlets maintained editorial independence and provided their audiences with relatively balanced, though fragmented and superficial, information.

“Despite the pluralistic media landscape, polarisation has been one of the dominant themes in Georgian election coverage in recent years. Accurate and well-balanced information is essential for voters to make an informed choice at the ballot boxes,” said Asunción Sánchez Ruiz, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Georgia / Head of Political, Press and Information Section.

“Georgian media is a dynamic, diverse and fast-growing environment. It stirs public debate and acts as a crucial watchdog to democratic elections, even though political bias, unethical reporting and unverified sources of information remain an issue in some of the media sectors,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Head in Georgia.

Media research will continue through March 2022 to cover the entire electoral cycle – election campaign, election day, runoffs and post-election period.

All reports are available on the website: mediamonitor.ge 

United Nations Calls for Strong Action to Control Tobacco Smoking in Georgia

Published in Economics
Monday, 01 May 2017 17:49

On Tuesday, 2 May 2017, at 09:30 am, in the UN House in Tbilisi (9 R. Eristavi Street, Tbilisi), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Health Organization (WHO) are organizing a press conference to support the adoption of the Tobacco-Control Law in Georgia.

Representatives of the United Nations will update the media about preliminary findings of the FCTC Investment Case – recent research implemented by the WHO and UNDP to promote implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Georgia. They will also inform about economic burden of tobacco smoking in Georgia, importance and practical implications of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for the member states, and key measures of tobacco control.

Speakers:

  • Marijan Ivanuša, WHO Representative in Georgia
  • Shombi Sharp, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia
  • Andrew Black, Team Leader of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Secretariat
  • Kristina Mauer Stender, Program Manager of the WHO Regional Office for Europe 

Georgia Adopts First National Strategy for Rural Development

Published in Economics
Thursday, 05 January 2017 13:19

On 30 December 2016, the Government of Georgia approved the first ever national strategy for rural development.  It provides the country’s vision for 2017-2020 in key areas of rural development – growth and diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, sustainable use of natural resources and local engagement in the development process.

The adoption of the Rural Development Strategy 2017 – 2020 has sealed a year-long process initiated by the Government of Georgia and supported by the European Union (EU) and two United Nations agencies – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), under the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).

The Strategy represents a new approach to rural development in Georgia grounded on the best EU practices in this field. It focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and civil engagement, and on improving the quality of people’s life while paying special attention to the values of natural and cultural heritage.

ENPARD Programme contributed to the development of the Strategy by offering technical expertise to the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as organizing public consultations, which helped to make the process more inclusive and transparent. The preparation of the Strategy engaged a range of national and international stakeholders, including for civil society and community organizations, national and international experts, relevant ministries and state agencies.

 After formal adoption by the Government, an Interagency Coordination Council on rural development will be established.  It will be led by the Ministry of Agriculture with technical assistance from the European Union (EU) and UNDP under the ENPARD programme.  The Council will coordinate the implementation of the Strategy and will look into specific initiatives in the regions of Georgia.  

The EU is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 102 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities.

More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge

UNDP and Government of Georgia commit to GEL 6.8 million rural development initiative funded by EU and Government of Adjara

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 03 August 2016 21:17

Shombi Sharp, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, and Otar Danelia, Minister of Agriculture of Georgia signed an agreement to continue assistance to rural development in the country through a GEL 6.8 million project funded by the European Union and the Government of Adjara.

This initiative will assist in the development of a national Rural Development Strategy of Georgia and a specific strategy for the Ajara Autonomous Republic, and support their practical implementation.

95% of the GEL 6.8 Million (Euro 2.63 million) project budget is provided by the European Union and 5% by the Ajara Government.

The two-year initiative is part of the European Union funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) which launched its second phase in Georgia a month ago.

Through ENPARD, the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia works closely with the European Union, UNDP, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic to promote rural development all over the country, and specifically in Ajara, and enhance institutions – respective ministries, national agencies, associations and educational bodies – engaged in this process.

What Do Georgians Think About Public Services?

Published in Society
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 22:57

Quality of roads, public kindergartens, cleaning service and citizen engagement in decision-making are in focus of a research commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO) for the South Caucasus and Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and carried out by the Georgian research company ACT in November 2015.

The discussion about key findings of the study on 27 July 2016 brought together representatives of the Georgian Government, Parliament, local authorities, civil society and international organizations.

Niels Scott, Head of UNDP in Georgia, and Tengiz Shergelashvili, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, addressed the participants of an event with welcome remarks.

The comprehensive nation-wide research is based on interviews with 3,800 citizens over the age of 18 in all regions of Georgia. It examines public views about the services that are currently provided by municipalities and central government, provides comparative analysis with the similar study conducted in 2013, and includes recommendations for local authorities based on the perceptions and expectations of citizens.

The research is part of a wider programme supported by UNDP, Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO) for the South Caucasus and Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) to assist self-governance reform in Georgia.

A Study Reveals What Georgians Think about Public Services

Published in Society
Tuesday, 26 July 2016 16:22

Quality of roads, public kindergartens, cleaning service and citizen engagement in decision-making are in focus of a research that will be presented on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 10:00 am, in Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel (1 Rose Revolution Square, Tbilisi, Georgia).

Niels Scott, Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia, and Tengiz Shergelashvili, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, will open an event that will bring together representatives of the Georgian Government, Parliament, local authorities, civil society and international organizations.

The comprehensive nation-wide research of citizen satisfaction with public services in Georgia was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO) for the South Caucasus and Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and carried out by the Georgian research company ACT in November 2015.

The study is based on interviews with 3,800 citizens of Georgia over the age of 18 in all regions of Georgia. It examines public views about the services that are currently provided by municipalities and central government, provides comparative analysis with the similar study conducted in 2013, and includes recommendations for local authorities based on the perceptions and expectations of citizens.

A full report of the study will be available at the UNDP Georgia website: www.ge.undp.org

The research is part of a wider programme supported by UNDP, Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO) for the South Caucasus and Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) to assist self-governance reform in Georgia.

Small Farmers Meet High-Ranking EU Officials

Published in Economics
Saturday, 16 July 2016 21:37

BATUMI. 16 July 2016 – EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn visited Georgia on 14 July to speak at “Georgia's European Way” conference in Batumi.

After the conference, Commissioner Hahn visited a number of agriculture projects in Ajara Autonomous Republic funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The EU official was accompanied by EU Ambassador to Georgia Janos Herman, United Nations Resident Coordinator Niels Scott and Minister of Agriculture of Georgia Otar Danelia.

Commissioner Hahn visited the agricultural cooperative “Lurja 2015” which produces berries in Ochkhamuri village in Kobuleti. The founder and several members of the cooperative are visually impaired. Commissioner Hahn handed over two laptop computers with speech recognition software specially designed for visually impaired persons.

Commissioner Johannes Hahn also visited the Kobuleti branch of the Ajara Agroservice Canter to learn about services for farmers that help promote agriculture and rural development in Ajara.

Meetings of high-ranking EU officials with small farmers continued on 16 July, when Deputy Director General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Katarina Mathernova, accompanied by Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, Otar Danelia, and Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia, Natia Natsvlishvili, visited a wine cellar “Satsuri” and honey producer “Naturgift” in Batumi.

Both cooperatives were established with assistance of the programme ENPARD funded by the European Union and implemented in Ajara AR by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Katarina Mathernova handed over to the cooperative "Naturgift" a modern honey production equipment worth GEL 60 thousand.

The visits to EU-funded agricultural cooperatives and the meetings with small farmers offered EU officials first-hand information about the challenges and achievements of local economies in Georgia and the role cooperation in boosting rural development.

The programme ENPARD is recognised as one of the most successful agriculture initiatives funded by the EU. Since 2013, the programme has supported Georgia’s agriculture and rural development with over EUR 102 million. In Ajara Autonomous Republic ENPARD is being implemented through cooperation with UNDP.

The first phase of the programme came to end in June 2016. The second phase will be launched shortly to continue through 2018.

Agriculture and Rural Development in focus of the Georgian Media

Published in Society
Friday, 01 July 2016 09:54

Up to 40 journalists of the broadcast, print and online media took part in the media tour to Ajara organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the European Union and in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia and Ajara Autonomous Republic Government.
The journalists travelled to the villages across the region and visited small farmers’ cooperatives supported by European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) recognised as one of the most successful agriculture initiatives funded by the European Union.
Media representatives received first-hand information about the challenges faced by small farmers, successes of agriculture cooperatives, and the role of agriculture cooperation in boosting rural development in Georgia.
On 28-29 June, the journalists travelled to the villages in Ajara highlands and visited berry and hazelnut plantations, trout farms and greenhouses.
On 30 June, media representatives met with Janos Herman, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia; Niels Scott, Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia; Archil Khabadze, Chair of the Ajara AR Government; Zaur Putkaradze, Minister of Agriculture of the Ajara AR; Nodar Kereselidze, First Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Georgia; and David Galegashvili, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Georgia.
Together they visited a berry plantation in the village of Ochkhamuri and the Ajara Agriservice Centre branch in Kobuleti.
“It is encouraging to see that the assistance offered by the European Union and our cooperation with UNDP, the Government of Georgia and local partners make farming more efficient and bring new prospects to the rural areas. In Ajara only, ENPARD assisted more than 70 farmers’ cooperatives. Over ten thousand small farmers benefitted from our services,” Ambassador Herman said to journalists.
“The success of the programme ENPARD in Ajara is the result of proactive cooperation with the national and regional government. The programme is coming to an end this month but we look forward to launching its next stage to continue our assistance to rural development in Ajara and the other regions of Georgia,” said Niels Scott, Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia.
The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) was implemented in Ajara in 2013-2016. The total budget of ENPARD Ajara is €3.3 million with up to €3 million from the European Union and the rest from the Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic. More information about ENPARD Ajara is available at the UNDP website: http://bit.ly/1bAw3RA

International Conference for Independent, Qualified and Ethical Profession of Lawyer

Published in Justice
Friday, 17 June 2016 21:59

Over thirty representatives of the Georgian and international bar associations get together at a conference in Tbilisi on 20-21 June 2016 to discuss an independent, qualified and ethical exercise of the lawyer’s profession.

The Conference is organised by the Georgian Bar Association, with assistance from the Council of Europe (CoE), European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and in cooperation with the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili will open the event.

Zaza Khatiashvili, Georgian Bar Association Chair; Cristian Urse, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia; Shombi Sharp, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia; Stephen Stork, Deputy Head of Operations Section of the European Union Delegation to Georgia; and Irakli Burduli, Dean of Faculty of Law of Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, will address the Conference at an opening session.

The Conference participants will discuss common challenges faced by lawyers and examine best practices in different countries. At the end of the Conference on 21 June, they will present a joint working document that will be published as a reference and guidance for professional associations of lawyers. Improving the quality of the profession of lawyer will in turn ensure the efficiency and fair administration of justice for the citizens of countries concerned.

Georgia-Ukraine Black Sea Surveys

Published in World
Friday, 27 May 2016 15:49

BATUMI. 27 May 2016 – The biggest research vessel in the European Union «Mare Nigrum» arrived in Batumi marine port from Odessa on May 27 to finalise a joint Georgia-Ukraine environmental research of the Black Sea.
A team of researchers, which includes specialists from Georgia, Ukraine and five EU member states, was welcomed by representatives of the Georgian government, Ajara officials, media and citizens. This was followed by an outdoor concert in the port and press conference attended by Tamar Bagratia, Head of the National Environment Agency of Georgia; Giorgi Ermakov, Batumi Mayor; and representatives of the Ukrainian Scientific Centre of Ecology of the Sea and Institute of Marine Biology of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
The Black Sea research is an initiative of the European Union and UNDP, carried out in cooperation with the government agencies and research institutions of Georgia and Ukraine.  The Black Sea Surveys include territorial waters of Georgia and Ukraine and are being undertaken by a team of researchers from both countries and five EU member-states.
The surveys are the first deep open Black Sea research in the territorial waters of Georgia and Ukraine:
•    For the first time the parameters for determination of the good environmental status of the Black Sea will be defined;
•    For the first time the screening of emerging organic pollutants, large-scale study of marine litter, photographic identity catalogue of dolphins’ populations will be performed;
•    For the first time marine microbes will be identified by their DNA;
•    First in 21st century study of the life in hydrogen sulphide layers;
•    First determination of the status of the sea by the algae species.
The surveys contribute to the implementation of EU-Georgia Association Agreement in the field of environment, addressing namely the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive in part of the initial assessment of marine waters and the EU Water Framework Directive in part of the status assessment of the coastal zones.
The Joint Black Sea surveys are conducted within the framework of the project ‘Improving Environmental Monitoring in the Black Sea” (EMBLAS) co-financed by the European Commission (EC) and UNDP.

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