PANEL: Polarisation and Media Ethics in Georgia

HATE NEWS vs. FREE SPEECH: Polarization & Pluralism in Georgian Media
December 12 2020

Tamar Kintsurashvili (Executive Director of Media Development Foundation, Associate Professor at Ilia State University, GE), Nini Gvilia (Project Assistant, Social Media Monitoring at The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy ISFED, GE), Nata Dzvelishvili (Executive Director at Indigo Publishing, GE). Moderated by Maya Talakhadze (Co-founder, Regional Democratic Hub – Caucasus, GE).

Similar to other post-Soviet Union countries, the political environment in Georgia has been polarized since its independence. Since the media is partly responsible for determining the political agenda, political parties can never withstand the enticement to have influence on major media outlets. This political polarization has resulted in polarized media and this in its turn is reflected in a polarized society. To some extent, the increased access to different media outlets and the popularization of social media have brought about a more pluralistic media environment. However, because of the strong political poles in Georgia the Georgian society now faces the challenge of a polarized pluralism in media. In this antagonist media environment there are frequent media ethics violations by media outlets. Subjects and articles that include hate speech and violation of media ethics are very popular and media outlets that neglect ethics are more top-rated compared to balanced and ethical ones.

The rising role of social media is promising. According to recent research, for 20% of the Georgian population the main source of information is social media. Social media fills a gap and creates pluralism to some degree, but at the same time it creates a stage for information disorder in order to influence public discourse.

On this panel, experts from Georgia will overview the situation of polarization and media ethics in Georgia. Tamar Kintsurashvili – Executive Director of Media Development Foundation will discuss about the main reasons of media polarization. Nini Gvilia, working on the Social Media Monitoring at The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy ISFED will cover social media perspectives in Georgia. Finally, Nata Dzvelishvili, CEO of Indigo and former Chair of Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethic. will give an overview of the current state of media ethics in the Georgian media environment.

22th Event of the Disruption Network Lab.
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Disruption Network Lab Berlin –
Live stream: Boiling Head
Video: Gonzalo Rofso, Gabriel Rodriguez Alfaro, Ángel García Giménez.
Live stream: Boiling Head

Graphic: Jonas Frankki
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