Monitoring Editorial Policy of TV News Programs
March 1-31, 2016
The subjects of monitoring: Rustavi 2, Imedi, Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), Maestro, Tabula and GDS (main news programs).
Monitoring methodology: see http://mdfgeorgia.ge/eng/view_news/415/
Monitoring of the main news programs for March 1-31 has revealed the following tendencies:
Tendency of reporting on priority topics
Secret recordings of private life posted by one of the anonymous sources on the Internet were one of the priority topics in March. This topic, due to its content, was covered by all subjects of monitoring without violation of ethical norms. The issue remained topical throughout the month. Still, the TV channels subject to monitoring did not identify the person featured in the video recordings; neither did the TV channels air secret recordings of private lives. When reporting on the issue on March 11, Rustavi 2, Tabula and Maestro news programs noted without identifying the person featured in the video recording that the video showed a private life of one of the politicians.
Besides secret recordings of private life, the priority topics of the monitored TV channels involved recent developments in the Georgian Dream coalition, particularly the confrontation between Republicans and Industrialists, as well as student protests at Tbilisi State University. These issues were covered with the above mentioned prioritization; however, there were some omitted topics too.
Infographics No 1
Available at http://bit.ly/1TdNbKO
Confrontation between Republicans and Industrialists
All news programs covered the Georgian Dream infighting between Republicans and Industrialists. However, only Rustavi 2, Maestro, GPB and Tabula dedicated their airtime to apparent reasons of this confrontation. Along with the GD infighting, these TV channels also covered the issue of losing the Defense Ministry’s tender by the company Kazbegi. For the first time in three years, the company owned by MP Gogi Topadze from Industrialists party failed to win the Defense Ministry’s tender. GDS mentioned the fact during a studio interview. When asked by a journalist whether the lost tender became the reason of confrontation, Parliament’s Vice Speaker, Manana Kobakhidze responded that describing this fact as the reason of confrontation between Republicans and Industrialists would be equal to insulting Gogi Topadze.
Undeclared property of mayors
On March 2, only Rustavi 2 and Georgian Public Broadcaster dedicated their airtime to the documents released by the Kakheti Information Center. The documents revealed that mayors of Gori, Akhaltsikhe, Zugdidi, Poti and Ozurgeti owned undeclared properties and shares in various companies.
Eka Mishveladze’s lawsuit
Only Tabula and Rustavi 2 reported on March 7 on the lawsuit filed by journalist Eka Mishveladze against the Georgian Public Broadcaster for firing her in February.
Venice Commission’s report
Along with other countries, Georgia also appeared in the report on interference in the Constitutional Court’s activity released by the Venice Commission. The issue was not covered by Maestro TV’s news program on March 17. The Venice Commission’s criticism was triggered by the remarks made by Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani about the Chairman of the Constitutional Court. The Venice Commission said in its conclusion that the minister’s calls contained a threat of weakening the judiciary.
Vagif Akperov Accuses State Security Service of Blackmail
On March 29, Imedi, Maestro and GDS news programs did not cover the story, where Vagif Akperov, former Sheikh of the Georgian Muslims’ Directorate, accuses the State Security Service of blackmail and threats. Vagif Akperov claimed that he did not quit his position of his own accord in 2013. The Muslim cleric said that he decided to quit after being threatened by security service officers.
Tree relocation from Tsikhisdziri
On March 25, Imedi and GDS news programs did not cover the story related to complicated transportation of a 100-year-old tree lifted from the Tsikhisdziri Botanical Garden to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s dendrological park.