Public attitudes toward LGBTQI people in Georgia are changing, yet the protection and realization of their rights remain a challenge

Published in Society
Friday, 06 May 2022 16:24

The United Nations and the Government of Sweden unveil research on human rights, legal protection and public attitudes toward the LGBTQI community in Georgia

TBILISI. 6 May 2022 – The LGBTQI people remain one of the least protected and most marginalized social groups in Georgia. They face discrimination and violence, while the protection and realization of their rights remain a challenge. Yet, recent research reveals that negative public attitudes toward the LGBTQI community have been decreasing in the last five years.

A series of studies were conducted by Georgia’s Public Defender’s Office and the non-governmental organization ‘Women’s Initiatives Support Group’ (WISG) with assistance from the Government of Sweden and the United Nations through its three agencies – UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The research reviews international standards in protecting LGBTQI rights and Georgia’s commitments in this area. It analyses the legal environment and widespread practices and examines public attitudes toward LGBTQI people in Georgia. The research also includes recommendations for specific state agencies.

The research findings point out positive changes in public attitudes in the last five years. Since 2016, the number of respondents who think that the LGBTQI community is interested in propaganda, and not in achieving equality, has decreased by 20.6 percent (55.9 percent in 2021 compared to almost 78 percent in 2016). The number of people with an extremely negative attitude toward the LGBTQI community and its human rights defenders dropped by around 20 percent and now hovers around 56 percent.

However, the research also captures the negative perception of the LGBTQI community in Georgia’s society. 48.2 percent of the respondents believe that LGBTQI people are fighting for privileges. 39.5 percent are convinced that the rights of the LGBTQI community are fully protected. At the same time, 38.6 percent note inadequate state response to the acts of violence and discrimination faced by the LGBTQI people.

The research was conducted under the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality, a Sweden-funded initiative implemented by UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA. Its reports are available on the UNDP website

UNDP and national partners discuss the Constitution of Turkmenistan in the context of ensuring human rights and freedoms

Published in World
Wednesday, 13 April 2022 12:03

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Turkmenistan convened a workshop in a hybrid format on the Constitution of Turkmenistan as the guarantor of human rights and freedoms. The event gathered representatives of a number of government agencies including Milli Gengesh, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Prosecutor`s Office, Judicial system, as well as civil society organizations from Mary, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap velayats and Ashgabat city.

This workshop dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Constitution Day of Turkmenistan and 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan's membership in the United Nations is organized in the framework of the three-year UNDP project: "Assistance in the realization of the National Action Plan of Turkmenistan in the field of human rights for 2021-2025" implemented jointly with the Institute of State, Law, and Democracy of Turkmenistan.

“I would especially like to emphasize that the Constitution of Turkmenistan - the supreme law of the country contains the fundamental principles and concepts of human rights reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” - noted during the meeting Mr. Rovshen Nurmuhammedov, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative in Turkmenistan.

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the importance of the Constitution for the protection, observance and promotion of human rights, and effective public administration using national and international mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights. During the workshop speakers also presented an overview of modern trends and concepts of human rights education and the role of public associations in ensuring human rights in Turkmenistan. The objectives of the workshop will contribute to the efforts of the country to comply with its international human rights obligations and implementing recommendations of human rights treaty bodies, including the recommendations of the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) within the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Integrated Territorial Development for prosperous regions

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 22 March 2022 11:33

The EU and Germany support decentralized governance, social cohesion and inclusive economic growth in Georgia’s regions through partnerships with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, GIZ and UNDP

TBILISI. 22 March 2022 –The European Union (EU) joins hands with the German Government to kick off a national programme supporting sustainable and inclusive growth, balanced territorial development and good governance in Georgia’s regions. The EUR9.5 million ‘Integrated Territorial Development’ (EU4ITD) programme, running from 2022 to 2025, is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in close partnership with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure and local authorities.

Drawing on EUR8.5 million from the European Union and EUR1 million from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the initiative serves to overcome regional disparities and achieve social cohesion by combining territorial development measures, such as urban renewal, with actions promoting economic development and social inclusion. The programme covers the four regions of Guria, Imereti, Kakheti and Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti.

GIZ, with EUR7.5 million, will support local economic development, assisting municipalities, businesses, and citizens to realise the untapped economic and social potential in the focus regions.

UNDP will use EUR2 million to promote decentralisation and good governance and establish institutional development frameworks for decentralized regional policy.

“The Georgian Government has embarked on an ambitious goal to design and implement a new framework for regional and local development in line with EU standards. This opens a new chapter in our joint efforts to overcome social and territorial disparities in Georgia, foster economic development and create equal opportunities for all citizens through inclusive, smart and sustainable socio-economic means,” said Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure.

“Integrated territorial development is key to urban and rural transformation and to reducing socioeconomic disparities between regions and communities. It helps coordinate regional and local development, including its environmental, social and economic dimensions, and strengthen local democracy through inclusive participation. The EU is very happy to assist Georgia to introduce and explore this modern approach and shape lasting solutions to the complex challenges faced by the country’s regions”, said Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia Carl Hartzell.

“We are excited to partner with the EU in support of integrated territorial development in the pilot regions” said Hubert Knirsch, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Georgia. “This project will combine urban renewal initiatives with tourism development measures based on the cultural and natural heritage to be found in the regions and assistance to local small and medium-sized enterprises – thus enabling them to bring their products to Georgian and, I hope, international markets”.

“Too often development initiatives are overly programmatic, with the resulting concentration on particular sectors and a “one size fits all” approach leading to opportunities and nuances being missed. EU4ITD is novel in that it consciously seeks a different path – firstly, to be holistic and address the social, economic and environmental, and secondly to follow a “place-based” approach, thereby taking account of the particularities of individual regions and municipalities. These issues lie close to GIZ’s heart, and the organization is therefore institutionally invested in EU4ITD bringing about meaningful change,” said GIZ Programme Director Christoph Beier.

“Regardless of where they live, people strive for a prosperous and livable environment shaped around the principles of inclusion, sustainability and good governance. Through our partnership with the European Union, we can provide Georgia’s regions with the assistance they need to achieve these goals, create new opportunities for local communities, improve livelihoods and reduce rural poverty,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia Nick Beresford.

The EU4ITD initiative contributes to and supports the implementation of the Pilot Integrated Regional Development Programme (PIRDP), the national programme developed by the Georgian Government to advance regional development and decentralization reform and to achieve the goals outlined in the 2020-2025 Decentralisation Strategy. PIRDP financing comprises over EUR54 million from the EU and a further EUR10 million from the national budget.

6 in 7 people worldwide plagued by feelings of insecurity, reports UN Development Programme

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 08 February 2022 16:19

The new UNDP report shows a growing sense of insecurity among people despite years of development growth prompting calls for solidarity and refocusing development efforts

8 February, New York – Global development progress does not automatically lead to a greater sense of security, according to a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on human security released today.  

New data and analysis in the report, New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene, shows that people’s sense of safety and security is at a low in almost every country, including the richest countries, despite years of upwards development success. Those benefiting from some of the highest levels of good health, wealth, and education outcomes are reporting even greater anxiety than 10 years ago.

To tackle this disconnect between development and perceived security, the report calls for greater solidarity across borders and a new approach to development; one that allows people to live free from want, fear, anxiety and indignity. 

“Despite global wealth being higher than ever before, a majority of people are feeling apprehensive about the future and these feelings have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic”, said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “In our quest for unbridled economic growth, we continue to destroy our natural world while inequalities are widening, both within and between countries. It is time to recognise the signs of societies that are under immense stress and redefine what progress actually means. We need a fit-for-purpose development model that is built around the protection and restoration of our planet with new sustainable opportunities for all.”

The imperative to act now has never been more clear, as new findings also show that global life expectancy at birth is falling for a second year because of COVID-19, and overall human development measures are also moving downward. Furthermore, climate change is likely to become a leading cause of death around the world.  Even with moderate mitigation of emissions, some 40 million people might die because of changes in temperatures before the end of the century.

The report examines a cluster of threats that have shifted to become more prominent in recent years including those from digital technologies, inequalities, conflicts, and the ability of healthcare systems to tackle new challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing these threats, report authors argue, will require policymakers to consider protection, empowerment, and solidarity alongside one another so that human security, planetary considerations and human development all work together and not despite each other. This means that solutions for one problem shouldn’t exacerbate other problems.

A key element for practical action highlighted in the report is building a greater sense of global solidarity based on the idea of common security. Common security recognises that a community can only be secure if adjacent communities are too. This is something we see all too clearly with the current pandemic: nations are largely powerless to prevent new mutations of this coronavirus from crossing borders,” said Asako Okai, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP Crisis Bureau.  

The report also notes the strong association between declining levels of trust and feelings of insecurity. People with higher levels of perceived human insecurity are three times less likely to find others trustworthy.

Other new findings in the report include:

  • The more highly developed countries tend to capitalize more on the benefits from planetary pressures and suffer less of their consequences, highlighting how climate change is pushing inequalities further apart.
  • About 1.2 billion people live in conflict-affected areas, with almost half of them (560 million) in countries not usually considered to be fragile, indicating that the traditional ideas about which countries are most vulnerable to conflicts need to be revisited.
  • In 2021, despite the highest global GDP in history, and despite COVID-19 vaccines becoming more readily available in some countries, global life expectancy declined for the second year in a row. Declining by about one and a half years on average compared to a pre-COVID world.
  • There are large and widening gaps in healthcare systems between countries. According to the report’s new Healthcare Universalism Index, between 1995 and 2017, the inequality in healthcare performance between countries with low and very high human development worsened.

The concept of human security, first introduced in UNDP’s milestone 1994 Human Development Report, signalled a radical departure from the idea that people’s security should be only assessed by looking at territorial security, emphasizing the importance of people’s basic needs, their dignity, and their safety to live secure lives.

For the full report, visit HERE.  

Learning to be Wild (Video)

Published in Society
Thursday, 23 December 2021 16:50

In Georgia, UNDP’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative helps orphaned bears return to nature
Kopala and Chopika, two uproarious bear cubs, were named after mythical Georgian heroes. A third and smaller brown bear, who arrived at the Tbilisi Zoo bear sanctuary limping from a foot injury, was named ‘Garrincha’ after the famous Brazilian footballer.

All three were born free in the pristine forests that cover the hills and valleys of the Caucasus highlands, but none of them grew up in their natural environment. While still cubs, these three bears were captured and subject to the reckless cruelty of humans.
“There is only one way for a bear cub to end up in a human’s hands — it happens only when its mother is killed,” explained Tbilisi Zoo Director Zura Gurielidze. “People take the bear cubs in, keep them for a while, but soon want to get rid of them. They bring them here and tell us tall tales of how they supposedly ‘found’ these cubs while walking in the forest.”

This, sadly, is a common situation. Illegal hunting has been destroying Georgia’s rich fauna for decades, bringing unique endemic species like the Caucasian tur, the bezoar goat, the red deer — and brown bears — to the brink of extinction.

Bear cubs that live for a while with humans have many problems. Tiny Garrincha is sucking at a hand of a caregiver, a behaviour ostensibly caused by being deprived of a natural relationship with his mother in his early days. To raise a bear cub to be prepared to return to its natural environment is an extremely difficult task, but the specialists at the Tbilisi Zoo don’t give up.

“The main objectives of rehabilitation are getting rid of behaviours that bear acquired after being in contact with humans and strengthening their natural instincts,” explains Gurielidze. “The first step is to get the bear cubs prepared for freedom while they are still in captivity. The second step is to choose the right place where they can be released into nature.”

To achieve these goals, the bears must be kept in a place that closely resembles their natural environment. Bears also need to have minimal contact with humans.

With help from the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), a UNDP-led global partnership to support biodiversity, the zoo constructed vast open-air enclosures, which provide plenty of space for the bears to play and learn the skills they need to survive in the wild. BIOFIN also helped develop an online donation system to give private persons and companies an easy way to support the cause.

Mzia Sharashidze, Tbilisi Zoo Public Relations Manager, says that most of the donations come with comments about what the donor wants the zoo to do with the funds. “The messages are often very touching,” she says, “they make you think that though it will take time, our attitudes towards animals will eventually change.”

Worldwide, the BIOFIN programme aims to direct additional finance towards global and national biodiversity needs. When Georgia joined BIOFIN in 2016, it was one of the first countries in the world to do so. The programme has achieved significant milestones in Georgia. In total, biodiversity-related annual state budget allocations have increased by GEL 620,000. In 2019, the state budget allocations for the Forest and Biodiversity Department increased from GEL 100,000 to GEL 400,000 annually.

With BIOFIN support, Georgia has adopted the first-ever specific biodiversity-related guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment reports. BIOFIN also assisted the development of a five-year ecotourism plan for the Borjomi municipality state forest, which is being successfully replicated in other municipalities of Georgia.

This progress gives hope that Kopala, Chopika and Garrincha will find their home still standing and safe when they are ready to return to their natural habitat.

Responding to economic and social challenges faced by Georgia’s regions

Published in Economics
Friday, 17 December 2021 14:50

Supporting women in politics – UNDP Head visits the Mayor of Dusheti

TBILISI. UNDP. 17 December 2021 – In the aftermath of the local elections in Georgia, UNDP opens a new chapter of cooperation with municipal authorities and local communities. Its multi-sectorial support covers technical assistance to local administrations, fosters good governance and economic development, and promotes initiatives that boost citizen participation and civic activism, create equal opportunities for women and youth and reduce the threats posed by climate-induced disasters.

UNDP support for Georgia’s regions draws on the resources provided by a range of donors, including Austria, Denmark, the European Union, the Green Climate Fund, Sweden and Switzerland.

On 16 December, UNDP Head Nick Beresford and Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Mzia Giorgobiani visited the Dusheti Municipality to discuss local needs with Mayor Manana Narimanidze, one of three women mayors who took office in 2021. Beresford and Giorgobiani met with the authorities and citizens and attended a vaccination session organised by UNDP and the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health as part of the ongoing ‘Vaccines4Life’ campaign.

“Public opinion surveys show that increasing the number of women in political positions has overwhelming popular support. Mayor Narimanidze is one of three women who won mayoral positions this year. UNDP is offering support, including the ICT equipment and training and education to local youth, in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, the European Union and other partners. We also took the opportunity to help prevent COVID with a local vaccination drive,” Beresford said.

Dusheti is one of 48 Georgian municipalities that joined the EU-supported regional network ‘Mayors for Economic Growth’ (M4EG). Drawing on the resources of this joint EU-UNDP initiative, UNDP will help local authorities and communities to discover and explore innovative approaches to local governance and benefit from funding opportunities available for municipalities of the Eastern Partnership countries.           

To enhance digitalization at the local level, UNDP donated the ICT equipment to the Dusheti Mayor’s office, including laptops, portable scanners and multifunctional printers. UNDP will also pilot a new initiative to promote digital services for local communities and increase the engagement of women and youth in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). UNDP support will focus on advancing gender equality in governance, education and other areas, and on closing the digital gap faced by rural girls living in highlands.

The Dusheti Municipality, where 95 percent of settlements are located in high-mountainous areas, will continue benefitting from UNDP’s regional and local development programme funded by the governments of Austria and Switzerland, and from the decentralization initiatives funded by Denmark.

In the coming months, UNDP Head will visit municipalities across Georgia to meet with local authorities and communities and discuss UNDP support for addressing socio-economic challenges and discovering new development prospects.

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: 

Prime Minister’s meeting with UNDP Resident Representative

Published in Economics
Friday, 10 December 2021 17:29

Today, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia.
The meeting at the Government Administration focused on further strengthening and deepening the productive cooperation between Georgia and the UNDP, underlining the important contribution of the UNDP to strengthening Georgia's democratic processes, economic development, support for environmental protection, and crisis prevention, as well as the importance of UNDP assistance in the fight against COVID-19.
The meeting paid special attention to cooperation with UNDP toward reaching the SDGs, with emphasis on Georgia's efforts toward the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the significance of the new country program document.
The conversation also touched on the UNDP's considerable contribution to the empowerment of Georgia's mechanism for protecting human rights. According to Irakli Garibashvili, the Government is working on the 2nd National Strategy for Protecting Human Rights encompassing a wide array of rights and echoing the progress achieved globally. Nick Beresford pointed out that Georgia's positive steps toward protecting human rights.
The conversation also dealt with the situation in Georgia's occupied territories and the Georgian Government's peaceful conflict-resolution policy. The parties also underscored UNDP humanitarian projects implemented in Georgia's occupied territories, for which the Prime Minister thanked the UNDP Resident Representative.

Press Service of the Government Administration

Queen Tamar and David Soslan story’s onstage premier

Published in Culture
Monday, 06 December 2021 17:18

The twelfth-century marriage between a Georgian queen and an Ossetian prince is one of the most potent symbols of Georgian-Ossetian relations. The story of love and dynastic marriage, enriched with the historical background of the Georgian ‘Golden Age’, was brought onstage at the Shota Rustaveli Theater and Film State University with support from the United Kingdom (UK) and UNDP.

Adapted by Nino Popiashvili, directed by Tamar Khizanishvili and produced by the non-governmental organization Caucasian Mosaic, the play features a rich cast of ethnic Georgian and Ossetian actors (Tinatin Kobaladze, Manana Tsintsadze, Lili Khuriti, Nana Khuriti, Vazha Pukhaevi, Viktoria Jusoeva and Megi Tedeeva). Presented in both Georgian and Ossetian and using music composed by ethnic Georgian and Ossetian composers, the play quotes from the Georgian epos ‘Knight in the Panther’s Skin’, written during Queen Tamar’s reign.

The play tells the story of the royal marriage and highlights the roles that women held in the politics and diplomacy of the time. This includes women’s participation in peace processes, particularly the well-known story of Queen Tamar’s wise decision to dispatch Khvashak Tsokali and Kravai Jakeli on an ultimately successful diplomatic mission to negotiate with a rebel nobleman.

“In Georgia, the twelfth century is referred to as the ‘Golden Age.’ Art and literature researchers know it as a ‘Georgian Renaissance.’ It is also a period of close relations between Georgians and Ossetians, as reflected in several dynastic marriages. Reviving these great stories reminds us of historical ties between the people of the Caucasus,” said UNDP Head Nick Beresford.

In 2018, the Caucasian Mosaic, with the European Union (EU) and UNDP support, collaborated with the Shota Rustaveli State University of Theatre and Film to produce a play that also depicted the history of Georgian-Ossetian relations. The collaboration adapted the ancient Caucasian epos Nart Sagas for the theatre. The theatrical adaptation followed a 2017 illustrated Georgian-Ossetian edition of Nart Sagas for children. The ‘Queen Tamar and David Soslan’ play continues a series of theatrical adaptations that serve to bring Georgians and Ossetians closer together, resolve conflict and build peace.

The EU, UK and UNDP supported the undertaking under their joint initiative for building confidence between conflict-divided communities, Confidence Building Early Response Mechanism (COBERM). Working closely with civil society organizations on all sides of the conflict, they addressed some key confidence-building areas, such as healthcare, youth education, people-centred diplomacy, cultural cooperation, minority rights, gender equality and environmental protection. Since its start in 2010, COBERM has supported the implementation of over 200 initiatives, contributing to developing new approaches to peace and confidence building.

Source: UNDP Georgia

Georgia: pre-election report shows mounting tensions across all media

Published in Politics
Friday, 01 October 2021 11:59

Deep partisan divisions have defined the electoral media environment in Georgia throughout all recent elections. Findings of the media monitoring research, released today by the European Union (EU) and UNDP, show that tensions between media camps have only increased between the parliamentary elections in 2020 and the local elections in 2021.

In the pre-election monitoring period (July through September 2021), polarization was pronounced across all sectors of the national and, to a lesser degree, regional and local media. Some of the media outlets, which were relatively balanced last year, are now showing clear signs of political preference.

Political divisions on television were most evident in July when homophobic pogroms and violent attacks on journalists dominated the media agenda. Although all national televisions closely followed the events, most of them manipulated their audiences by spreading political bias and negatively portraying political forces they did not favour. Facebook pages of the national televisions mirrored this trend by backing certain political forces and demeaning others.    

Regional and local televisions were more focused on covering national news than local developments but failed to provide their audiences with high-quality information. News programmes were irregular and, in some cases, had to be suspended for several weeks for technical reasons.

Polarization and political bias have increased on national radios, a traditionally balanced and neutral media sector. Regional radios, though less biased in their reporting, did not provide critical analysis of the events and often used unverified information. Both national and regional radios tried to follow journalistic standards and refrained from discriminatory or abusive language.

As in previous years, unverified sources of information and offensive language remained an issue in national print media. In contrast to that, regional and local newspapers offered a relatively impartial account of events and a diversity of opinions.

The situation was different in the digital media sector. National publications were less polarized and more informative and balanced, while regional and local digital media outlets lent to political favouritism and used untrustworthy information sources. However, compared to television, political pressures and polarization were notably less evident across the entire digital media sector.

Compared to the 2020 electoral cycle, fewer cases of gender-discriminatory language were registered during the monitoring period across all media sectors. 

The EU and UNDP media monitoring also studied how political players communicate with their constituencies on social media. The research focused on the contents of Facebook pages of political parties, politicians, mayors’ offices and public agencies, as well as open Facebook groups. Over 500 social media resources were monitored in total. Findings show that in the pre-election period, Facebook pages of the municipalities and mayors’ offices refrained from unethical political propaganda and electoral confrontations. Politicians and political parties used their Facebook pages to spread critical information about political opponents but, in most cases, stayed within the ethical frames of an election campaign. Although electoral news reached open Facebook groups and social media pages of the state agencies, their traction on these channels was relatively low.

As in 2020, the EU and UNDP commissioned specialised research on media coverage of the role of foreign actors in Georgian elections. In the pre-election monitoring period, the EU, Russian Federation (RF) and the United States of America (USA) were mentioned most frequently with the EU and the USA portrayed in a positive light across all media sectors. The media agenda was dominated by political developments, including a so-called ‘Charles Michel agreement,’ situation in Afghanistan and Georgia’s bilateral relations with Belarus and Ukraine. Depending on their editorial preferences, media outlets would either interpret these developments as examples of Georgia’s foreign policy success or, on the contrary, as proofs of the government’s anti-Western stance.

“The media landscape mirrors polarization in the Georgian society which becomes especially evident at a time of elections,” said Evija Kotan, Deputy Head of Political Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia. “Media research serves as a critical tool for journalists, politicians and the public in fulfilling their civic duties during elections.”

“Voters place their trust in the media to make an informed choice at the ballot boxes,” said Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Deputy Head in Georgia. “The Georgian media can be praised for featuring a wide range of opinions and party options. However, political bias, unethical reporting and unverified sources of information remain a problem in many parts of the media.”

The EU-funded monitoring of media coverage of local elections in Georgia is implemented by UNDP in partnership with three Georgian civil society organizations: the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, Internews Georgia and CRRC-Georgia. This year, it covers 54 media outlets (27 national and 27 regional).

Media research will continue throughout the electoral cycle, covering an election campaign, election day and a post-election period (from July 2021 through March 2022). All reports are available on the website:

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