Media situation in focus ahead of October elections
🇬🇪 Parliamentary elections will be held in Georgia on October 31 as the country elects the tenth convocation of the parliament.— JAMnews (@JAMnewsCaucasus) September 17, 2020
This JAMnews review focuses on key aspects of the upcoming parliamentary elections.https://t.co/31b7ryDlfj
As Georgia prepares for parliamentary elections on 31 October, the media situation and media freedom remain in focus and civil society continues to monitor any violations of press freedom.
Russian #fakenews continue to spread disinformation to sow distrust between Georgia and its Western partners. This time, a false letter from EU Commission VP @MargSchinas thanking President @Zourabichvili_S in a non-existant support for a non-existant refugee camp in Georgia. pic.twitter.com/hdGiB6d0XO— Orbeliani Presidential Palace (@OrbelianiPalace) September 8, 2020
Georgia's president condemns Russian misinformation
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili stated on 8 September that "Russian fake news continues to spread disinformation and to sow distrust between Georgia and its Western partners". The statement was made in connection to an article in the Russian press claiming that Georgia benefits from provocations with Russia.
Authorities in Tbilisi have previously condemned cases of misinformation and alleged attempts by Russian authorities to disrupt dialogue between Georgia and its European partners.
Two TV stations warned
Georgia's Communications Commission warned two politically-affiliated TV stations of violating election-related regulations. According to the Commission, Media Union Obiektivi and Girchi TV placed election-related advertisements on their programmes before the official launch of the election campaign. According to reports, Obiektivi TV was founded by Irma Inashvili, leader of the Alliance of Patriots Party. Girchi-TV is affiliated with a Georgian right-libertarian party.
Ombudsman condemns threats against journalists
On 8 September, Georgia's Ombudsman condemned a verbal assault made my protesters on journalists and the owner of a local radio station Pankisi in the village of Duisi and called on the Ministry of Interior to investigate the case. Due to the threats, the radio station had cancelled an upcoming reporting trip. The Ombudsman stated that the threats made against the journalists were a violation of freedom of expression and represented an "obstruction of their professional activity".
🇬🇪 The upcoming parliamentary elections in #Georgia are a possibility for the country to demonstrate to its people that it is set & ready to be a democratic country. But it is imperative to guarantee media freedom, editorial independence & prevent disinformation campaigns. pic.twitter.com/cUvkUJd0jk— Renew Europe (@RenewEurope) September 15, 2020
Protests against COVID-related restrictions
In July, coaches, athletes, and gym owners protested COVID-related restrictions on their operations and activities. Many had lost work and called on the government to lift or revise the restrictions.
Marches in solidarity with Belarus
In August, several solidarity marches were organised in the capital Tbilisi in solidarity with protesters in Belarus. The organisers, several Georgian NGOs, called on the Georgian government to offer support to the people of Belarus, as the country has been enveloped in mass demonstrators since early August.
Our dear Lithuanian friends organized a human chain for #freedom demonstrating the support to people in #Belarus. The chain symbolically turned into a march to #FreedomSquare & ended in front of Parliament of #Georgia ,also symbolically #жывебеларусь #BelarusFreedom 🇧🇾 🇱🇹 🇬🇪 pic.twitter.com/yawxkFpEny— Maka Meshveliani (@MakaMeshv) August 24, 2020