The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) published EBU News Report 2018, ‘50 ways to make it better’. The report highlights practical and concrete solutions and 50 real examples on building engagement and trust in public service journalism.
The report includes the project of the Georgian Public Broadcaster “Diverse Georgia”. According to report through the Diverse Georgia project, the Georgian national broadcaster 1TV has invested heavily in providing content for the country’s Armenian and Azerbaijani audiences. The author of the report points out that in a nation of 3.7 million Georgians, about 10 to 15% belong to the Azerbaijani and Armenian ethnic minorities. These are only two of the nine ethnic minorities that live in the country, mostly based in specific regions. The elderly in particular rarely speak Georgian, speaking Azerbaijani and Armenian or Russian instead. Because of their lacking language skills, these groups can be largely disconnected from the rest of the country.
“We really wanted to empower these people,” said Giorgi Gvimradze, Director of News and Current Affairs of 1TV during the EBU News Assembly in Edinburgh. “As they don’t speak Georgian, they were restricted to the news supply coming from their own region. But they also need to hear about what’s going on in the rest of the country, especially with regards to societal and political issues.”
Diverse Georgia was therefore launched in the summer of 2018. Through the project, 1TV aims to ensure access to information for ethnic minorities, thereby promoting the integration process and increasing civic consciousness.
“When you don’t speak the language, it’s hard to stay connected to the national news and participate in the democratic process. This was sometimes taken advantage of by politicians. With the presidential elections in October 2018, we wanted to ensure people were able to make their own, informed decisions.” – Giorgi Gvimradze stated.
According to EBU report, the project’s main focus is on airing 12 hours of radio and television content online, including cultural and entertainment programmes as well as news and current affairs shows.
The website, 1tv.ge, translates the content into no less than six languages, including Russian and English. Most importantly, the main Georgian news bulletin, Moambe, is translated into Azerbaijani and Armenian, and all debates for the elections are interpreted live. Protecting and preserving the Azerbaijani and Armenian languages is another important aim of the project.
“We need to emancipate the ethnic groups and give them a platform to protect their languages and cultures. Therefore we also focus on producing cultural programmes on ethnic groups.” – Gvimradze added.
According to report, such programmes are also broadcast to the rest of the nation to promote dialogue among diverse cultures. Although the project has only run for a few months, the response has so far been positive. “We do need to spread the word even more,” admits Giorgi Gvimradze. “We need to let the Azerbaijani and Armenian people know that this exists.” But he’s confident that this is just a matter of time.
Georgian Public Broadcaster presented project Diverse Georgia during EBU News Assembly in Edinburgh, Scotland, in November 2018.