OSCE/ODIHR report: Public broadcasters mainly provided neutral coverage
OSCE/ODIHR report: Public broadcasters mainly provided neutral coverage

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) published the final report on the October 31, 2020 parliamentary elections in Georgia. The report includes the findings about the media coverage of the elections.

Based on the report, media monitoring findings showed that multiple opportunities were available for the major contestants to present their views through the media in various formats.

“However, partisan editorial coverage of the main national private broadcasters, lack of debates between the ruling party and main opponents, and the confrontational tone of the campaign coverage significantly reduced the voters’ opportunity to make an informed choice,” said the report.

Both public channels GPB and Adjara TV provided the main contestants with comparable amounts of mainly neutral coverage. In particular, the GD received 18 and 17 percent, the UNM-led coalition 13 and 13 percent, EG 8 and 6 percent and Lelo 4 and 4 percent of their total monitored coverage, respectively.

However, both broadcasters provided broad coverage to the activities of the government, some 22 and 18 per cent, respectively. While newscasts of the GPB also provided notable coverage, some 24 per cent combined, to the other contestants, Adjara TV focused mainly on local events and offered only limited coverage of the campaign, providing some 18 per cent to the Adjaran local government.

The GPB organized, in addition to four debates scheduled for such parties, another four debates to cover other contestants. However, most private national and regional broadcasters saw such requirement as burdensome, claiming that the decision of the ruling party not to debate, and subsequent indifference to such debates from the main opposition parties would result in low viewership,” reads the report.

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