Georgian Media Environment from 2012 Parliamentary Elections till Present
Since 2012, the Georgian media has experienced significant changes to become much more pluralistic, as confirmed by respective international ratings. In summer 2015, Georgia fully switched to digital broadcasting, which definitely should be regarded as a positive development for the Georgian media environment. Over the last four years, position of Georgia in the media independence ratings has significantly improved.
For the first time over the recent years, advertising revenues started to experience substantial shrinkage in 2015. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that present advertising market is not as much monopolized as it used to be before 2012. There is no gross interference with the advertising market on the part of the State as well.
In the course of 4 years, a number of highly rated programs were gradually shut down; according to hosts of the given programs, deals between the Government and the media owners were behind such turn of events. In some cases, policy of the media outlet owner was claimed to be an underlying reason. During the reporting period, certain cases of blackmailing and exerting pressure on journalists were reported; for the most part, no effective investigation has been launched with respect to such facts. It was also revealed that the country is still facing challenges in the field of the journalists’ labor rights.
For assessing the Georgian media environment “dispute over ownership of “Rustavi 2” , now being considered by the Supreme Court, is a focal point. Consideration of the case by the City and Appeal Courts and developments unfolded around its management have raised a number of questions at the local, as well as international level concerning political implications behind the process.
During the reporting period, much activism was observed on the part of anti-Western media outlets. In certain cases, they received certain funding from the budgetary organizations.
The regional media faced significant challenges. Even though the regional media outlets have become much more active, their heavy reliance on funds from the local government posed a significant problem.