Public Broadcaster coverage of pre-election activities complies with ethical standards
Public Broadcaster coverage of pre-election activities complies with ethical standards

Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) published the second qualitative and quantitative report on the media monitoring of the pre-election period of Georgia’s parliamentary election on Friday.

The report covers the period from September 1 to September 30. The qualitative and quantitative monitoring of six national broadcasters including First Channel of the Public Broadcaster, Adjara Public Broadcaster, Rustavi 2, Imedi TV, Pirveli TV, and Mtavari TV, was carried out during the reporting period. The monitoring covered the primetime programs, namely, on the period from 19:00 to 24:00. The quantitative media monitoring was conducted on up to 50 TV channels.

According to the Communications Commission, the abovementioned broadcasters were assessed in terms of the following broadcasting standards: balance, accuracy, relevance, diversity, the omission of important information, hate speech, misinformation, discrimination, and visual/audio manipulation, during the qualitative monitoring.

The key findings of the media monitoring have shown that the coverage of pre-election activities in the news programs of the Public Broadcaster was in compliance with ethical standards and the balance was not disturbed. Adjara Public Broadcaster and Rustavi 2 observed the balance and standard in their programs too. In the case of Imedi TV, Pirveli TV, and Mtavari TV, the bias in favour of different political parties was explicit.

GNCC pointed out that Public Broadcaster’s news programs contained verified and fact-based information, ethical and professional standards were observed, cases of disinformation and manipulation were not detected, and balance was maintained, allowing viewers to get acquainted with different opinions. The Public Broadcaster ensured equal participation of all election subjects in the debates in a non-discriminatory manner, however, some parties did not take advantage of this opportunity. The presenters of the socio-political programs did not express a biased attitude towards any of the political parties. Time allotted to the monitoring subjects: the Government of Georgia – 24.8% (positive – 37%, negative – 5%), Georgian Dream – 17% (positive – 31%, negative – 18%), United Opposition “Power is in unity” – 12.3% (positive – 9%, negative – 26%), and all other subjects – less than 10%.

The diversity of covered parties and opinions and balance were also largely noticeable in the main news programs of Adjara TV. Viewers had the opportunity to hear different positions on political and public issues. In socio-political programs, presenters asked critical questions and avoided discriminatory, hate speech. Time allotted to the monitoring subjects: the Government of Adjara – 25.7% (positive – 49%, negative – 5%), Georgian Dream – 19.5% (positive – 40%, negative – 29%), United Opposition “Power is in Unity” – 18.4% (positive – 15%, negative – 28%), the Government of Georgia – 10.7% (positive – 35%, negative – 16%), and all other subjects – less than 10%.

The Communications Commission monitors were trained by Rasto Kuzel, a media expert of the Council of Europe and the executive director of Memo 98. The monitors deepened their knowledge in conducting pre-election media monitoring following internationally recognized standards.

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