Monitoring Editorial Policy of TV Primetime News Programs
May 1-31, 2016
The subjects of monitoring: Rustavi 2, Imedi, Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), Maestro, Tabula, GDS and Kavkasia (main news programs).
Monitoring methodology: see http://mdfgeorgia.ge/eng/view_news/415/
Monitoring of the main news programs for May 1-31 has revealed the following tendencies:
Sale of a portion of the National Botanical Garden and protest rallies related to it, ongoing changes in political parties and establishment of new political groups, initiative to introduce a German model in the election system, court hearing on Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute and former MoD and general staff officials guilty verdict in so called “cable case” were among the priority topics covered by the televisions subject to monitoring in May. These topics were covered by all primetime news programs; however, there were some omitted topics as well.
Corruption at the Ministry of Culture
The topics omitted in May involved the research published by Transparency International Georgia on Risks of Conflict of Interests and Corruption at the Ministry of Culture. According to the research, companies associated with senior officials from the Ministry of Culture have received a total of GEL 2,421,743 from various public agencies through simplified public procurement contracts or direct funding. According to the document, the Ministry spends a considerable amount on Jazz Festivals. In May only GDS did not cover this topic in its primetime news programs.
Bonuses and salary supplements for CEC employees
In May, Imedi and Tabula did not cover in their primetime news programs the report released by ISFED, which focused on high salaries, bonuses and salary supplements of the employees of the Central Election Commission (CEC). The report covered the period 2011-2015 and it mostly highlighted the tendency of wage increase for CEC employees during the pre-election period as well as their inadequately high remuneration.
Survey on elite corruption
In May, only Rustavi 2, Georgian Public Broadcaster and Kavkasia dedicated their airtime to the survey on elite corruption conducted by Transparency International Georgia. According to the survey, number of those citizens, who believe that officials abuse their powers for private interests, has increased. Compared to 2015, such public attitude has increased by 15%. The survey also involved lower echelons of public agencies, where no such tendency was revealed. 99% of respondents noted that nobody asked them to pay a bribe in exchange for receiving any public service. This topic was neglected by Imedi, Maestro, GDS and Tabula.
Republicans’ Legislative Initiative on Femicide
Rustavi 2, Imedi, Tabula and Kavkasia news programs did not cover the initiative of the Republican Party to toughen punishment for gender-based crimes. The legislative initiative related to gender-based crimes envisaged a separate article in the criminal code. The proposed amendment defined femicide as a violence against a woman by a spouse, former spouse, partner, former partner or other member of a family.
Dismissal of kindergarten directors
Imedi, Maestro and GDS did not cover the issue of dismissal of four directors of kindergartens by the Kindergarten Management Agency. A part of parents and teachers cite political motives behind the decision to dismiss directors of kindergartens No 36, 144, 213 and 3. The Kindergarten Management Agency, however, claims that the directors were dismissed after allegedly misspending public funds.
Arrest of senior official from Gldani Gamgeoba
All televisions subject to monitoring except Maestro and GDS covered the arrest of a senior official from Gldani-Nadzaladevi local executive body (Gamgeoba). Vasil Bekauri was arrested by security officers for taking a bribe. He took GEL 1800 from the owner of the private company in exchange for implementation of house rehabilitation project; later, he demanded additional GEL 2000 from the same person.
Struggle against Russian propaganda
Only Tabula, Kavkasia and Rustavi 2 covered the forum held in Tbilisi to counter Russian propaganda. The key goal of the forum, which was held with the participation of local and international non-governmental organizations, was to develop methods to counter Russian propaganda.
Financial Supervisory Agency returns to the National Bank
Imedi and GDS did not cover the Economy Minister’s decision to return the Financial Supervisory Agency to the National Bank’s subordination. The bill envisaging removal of banking supervisory functions from the Georgian National Bank was enforced several months ago despite criticism and protests of the President, opposition and experts.
Infographics 1See infographics at the following link: http://bit.ly/29ks8Ya