Georgian First Channel Projects, Initiatives in EBU Report
Georgian First Channel Projects, Initiatives in EBU Report

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has published a COVID-19 report ‘Public Service Media: Supporting Sociaty Through Coronavirus.’

EBU, the world’s largest alliance of public service media, said: “This report shows how its members have responded to the pandemic and helped meet the insatiable demand for content brought about by the lockdown.”

“Our Members have been uniquely placed to deliver the trusted news, informed analysis, educational resources and high-quality entertainment that the audience has required in recent months. And the lessons they have learnt through this experience will undoubtedly shape them for years to come,” noted EBU.

EBU report contains Georgian First Channel projects – Man United and Combating Fake News.

The report pointed out that “Georgia’s GBP took the COVID-19 crisis – a time in which many women were being faced with increased domestic chores and traditional roles were blurred – as an opportunity to do some dismantling of its own.”

“Gender stereotypes and how we adapt them for the good of everyone in society are never far away from present-day discussion and headlines.

As part of the United Nations’ Men United for Children, the broadcaster produced a series of 14 videos that were aired live as well as being available on its website and via YouTube.

The clips showed men and fathers talk about adapting to changing circumstances and how they had become involved – or more involved – in tasks such as homeschooling at a time when many women were performing essential, frontline roles during a global pandemic,” stressed EBU.

Speaking of fake news, EBU noted in its report that “GPB established an Anti-Fake project to tackle the spread of damaging misinformation and set up an ‘information hygiene’ process with all news appearing on its platforms going through the strictest verification procedures at a time when fake news was spreading across many media platforms in the country.”

“The phenomenon of “fake news” brought with it significant challenges for broadcasters around the world – and COVID-19 only heightened the public’s appetite for trusted, reliable sources of information at a time of confusion and in an absence of clarity.

A website was created that allowed the public to verify the information and to ask questions about the authenticity of items of ‘news’. Furthermore, it enabled individuals to submit information released across different media outlets and social platforms and to then receive a response (via the website) once it had been fact-checked.  The site categorized news featured on the platform as ‘true’, ‘mainly true’, ‘false’ and ‘absurd’,” stressed the report.

In EBU report, Director General of Georgian First Channel, Tinatin Berdzenishvili touched upon the GPB moves amid pandemic.

Berdzenishvili pointed out that “the lesson we have learned is that, in a crucial situation, apart from supplying reliable and verified information, our top mission is to respond to the public needs as promptly as possible.”

“Due to the spread of covid-19, Georgian Public Broadcaster started taking preventative measures in order to implement its activities uninterruptedly and meet the new requirements of the audience that has emerged in the pandemic environment. Soon after school closure, we urgently launched the new educational TV channel, which has received international recognition.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stressed that the TV School (Teleskola) and model of distance learning introduced in Georgia was one of the most successful projects in the world.

Apart from realising the necessity of isolation and its implications, the biggest difficulty of the parents and their kids has proved to be having to adapt to the unusual situation and development on new skills. The online instruction and work have to create quite a few problems, not all the family members have the required hardware or private space.

We have promptly realised the challenge facing the mountainous regions, large families and vulnerable groups. In just two weeks, we transformed the channel into an educational platform where children of all age can study school subjects. The channel is adapted with people with disabilities with a help of sign language translator,” stated Berdzenishvili.

Director General of Georgian First Channel discussed the importance of verified information in the wake of the fake news.

“During the covid-19, we have launched a very important project against fake news. During covid-19 when plenty od fake news was spread on most of the Georgian media platforms, was like infodemia. On the new online platform – Anti – Fake G – any person can send the information released in different media outlets or social networks and receive the response with the webpage that is verified and fact-based.

Audiences’ changed behaviour showed us there was a need to supporting them when being isolated. Like our collages from VRT, Belgium, we created an application, called ‘You Are Not Alone.’ The website where people could send their video messages when being isolated. It has brought us to the polyphonic musical message to the world – You Are Not Alone! We released a music video with 14 different languages,” noted Berdzenishvili.