Promoting Understanding of the Energy Sector in Georgia
TI Georgia’s project “Promoting Understanding of the Energy Sector in Georgia” strove to increase public awareness of the energy sector in Georgia and to disseminate information throughout the country about the reforms carried out in this sector. In order to accomplish these goals, TI Georgia:
- Conducted intensive trainings for journalists on the energy sector in Georgia to develop understanding of this complicated sector. In total 10 trainings were conducted;
- Produced tri-annual newspaper inserts that included comprehensive articles on energy sector related issues for distribution throughout the country; and
- Produced and disseminated monthly reports documenting (a) issues of concern in the energy sector, (b) the government’s activities and achievement of intended results, (c) transparency of the sector, and (d) the effect of international energy developments on Georgia and Georgia’s relations with energy supplier countries.
Currently the energy sector is not well understood. There are two main reasons for this: (a) the Government is not proactive in providing information to the public about the energy sector and there are often conflicting messages about issues related to gas and electricity, and (b) the energy sector is a rather technical field, which is not easy to follow or understand for either ordinary citizens or journalists who are not specialists in this field.
TI Georgia invited various experts in the energy sector to a series of trainings. TI Georgia’s subsequent reports were prepared by an experienced researcher with strong analytical and writing skills and were distributed electronically in both Georgian and English to over 2,000 recipients in and outside Georgia and additionally through regular mail in Georgia. The reports and newspaper inserts were also disseminated to the Georgian public at large throughout all of Georgia's regions.
Within the framework of the project and with the assistance of the analytical consulting agency PRIMETIME, which conducts targeted research on media and TV coverage, TI Georgia tracked the coverage of the energy sector, focusing on what information was being given to the public, what issues were most frequently reported on, and which regions were most frequently covered and given the most information. In addition, this information allowed TI Georgia to monitor the quantity of newspaper articles produced on the energy sector and determined whether or not this number increased throughout the project. The results of media and TV tracking were included in the newspaper inserts prepared in the framework of this project.
In order to provide additional support and incentives to journalists to enable them to report on energy sector issues, TI Georgia awarded one journalist with a journalism award on a quarterly basis. During the project 3 journalists were awarded the award and received a cash prize of 1000 GEL and a special certificate from TI Georgia.