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Pursuant to Article 14 of the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting and the Code of Conduct of Broadcasters adopted by the Georgian National Communication Commission (GNCC) in 2009, broadcasters are obliged to establish an efficient complains mechanism for considering customers’ complaints.

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Posted on: 11 Nov 2015

Monitoring Editorial Policies of the TV news programs

MDF's report on editorial policies of the TV news programs was released. Monitoring conducted from 1 to 16 October aimed at depicting editorial policies of TV channels’ news programs and creation of the database with the factual evidence necessary for further analysis.

Study of the TV channels’ news programs editorial policies is conducted through daily monitoring of their main prime time news programs, except of week-ends. These programs are: Kurieri, Rustavi 2 (21:00); Chronika, Imedi (20:00); Moambe, Public Broadcaster (20:00); Kontakti Rvaze, Maestro (20:00), Fokusi, Tabula (19:00); 20/30, GDS (20:30).

Monitoring of evening news programs for 1-16 October revealed the following tendencies:

  •  In terms of reporting on priority topics, news programs of Rustavi 2 and Tabula were quite similar.
  •  Public Broadcaster, Maestro and GDS, as well as, partly, Imedi, left out similar topics from their news programs (see Table 2). For instance, investigation against the mother of the judge who presided over the Rustavi 2 case, launched two years after her alleged crime, which caused conflict of interest, was not reported by any TV channel except Rustavi 2 and Tabula. Conflict of interest in the case of the judge in 7 November case, which had caused controversy within the Judges Panel itself, was reported only by Imedi, Rustavi 2 and Tabula. Comments made by the President of Georgia about Rustavi 2 and media environment during his visit to U.S. were not reported by Public Broadcaster, Maestro, Tabula and GDS.
  • On the day of arrest of Tabula editor-in-chief because of her pasting posters against Gazrpom, Maestro prioritized such issues as political plans of Paata Burchuladze and Levan Vasadze’s support for MP Soso Jachvliani against the anti-discrimination law.
  • It has been found during the monitoring GDS 20/30 news program left out the issues representing high interest to the public, which on one hand could be related to the limited time allocated for the news format, but on the other hand expresses editorial policy. The least number of issues were left out in Rustavi 2 news programs. Issues left out by Tabula included some activities of the government.
  •  GDS stories are focused more on investigations of the cases from the National Movement’s period in government, than on the current events and daily news. 20/30 often airs such issues as a first top stories, at the expense of leaving out the current affairs representing public interest. For instance, on the day when Rustavi 2, Imedi and Tabula reported on the conflict of interest in the case of one of the judges on 7 November case, 20/30 aired investigation of the Magnat case as its first story. On 5 October, when there was a protest rally in front of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s house, they aired investigation of the so called "Kortebi" case and questioning of Irakli Pirtskhalava as their first story, while the protest rally did not get into 20/30 at all. On 8 October, unlike other channels, 20/30 did not air shooting in the center of Tbilisi and chose investigation of Imedi L company ownership issue as its first story.
  •  Similiarly to GDS, there was also instances when Public Broadcaster aired as its first story not current news, but older issues. For example, on 5 October, when there was a rally in front of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s house, Moambe started its evening newswith two stories about father of Mariam Makhniashvili (who disappeared in Canada) returning to Georgia after having been freed from jail, and his future plans.
  •  While GDS editorial policy is focused on the cases connected to the previous government, Rustavi 2 and Tabula air more critical stories about the current government. Criticism of the government by the local NGOs were mainly aired in the prime time news of Rustavi 2, and, partly, Imedi. At the same time, Rustavi 2 also systematically reported various activities of the government, though prioritizing issues connected to criticism. Other channels either did not report, or lightly covered criticism by international experts and institutions regarding the domestic affairs in Georgia. Criticism by Rustavi 2 included such issues as the video depicting Bidzina Ivanishvili’s relative illegally using special permits issues by MIA; suspicious circumstances regarding investigation of the death of Rustavi 2’s former owner Erosi Kitsmarishvili;investigation against mother of judge Urtmelidze, launched two years after the alleged crime; the story about Akhmed Chataev, freed by Georgian court in 2012, being included into the U.S. terrorist list.
  •  Critical stories regarding specific individuals and institutions, about bonuses, corruption and property controversies were aired by Maestro and Imedi as well.

Full version of the report is available at: http://bit.ly/1SXwiFX

The report is issued within the project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy – NED.

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