Georgia Political Orientation
Government Type: Unitary State
Leader: Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili
Political Party: Georgian Dream
Political Position: Center Left
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 59.85 – Moderate Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Georgia 77/180
Reporters Without Borders states that Government’s interference undermined efforts to improve press freedom, and Journalists are still subject to verbal and physical attacks. RSF further asserted that Georgia’s media landscape has political polarization, such as “Media owners often keep their hand in controlling editorial content. Hence, the Rustavi 2 opposition television network up-ended its editorial line after the company was returned to a previous owner.”
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
In Georgia, most press and broadcasting sectors are operated by state-owned and for-profit corporations.
The state broadcasting regulatory body is the Georgian National Communication Commission (GNCC). The commission members are proposed by the president of Georgia, countersigned by the Prime Minister, and elected by the Parliament. The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) operates First Channel, Second Channel, and Georgian Radio 1 and 2, while the parliament elects the board of trustees, which consists of nine members.
TV is the most popular medium in Georgia. The largest private TV station is Rustavi 2 TV, owned by Kibar Khalvashi. During right-leaning Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency, who is currently serving a jail sentence, according to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, The Georgian government took over Rustavi-2 TV. However, at present, the Georgian Supreme Court granted ownership of Rustavi 2 TV back to its former owner Khalvashi. Other privately-owned TV stations are Imedi TV, Maestro, and GDS. All three stations are pro-government. Irakli Rukhadze owns them and has good connections with the government. Iberia TV is another popular TV station that businessman Zaza Okuashvili owns through the Omega Group.
In summary, most media outlet owners are well-known businessmen that are either politically affiliated or belong to influential Georgian families. Therefore the government has indirect control of the media through politically connected ownership.
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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