Polarisation spikes as Georgian media follows the war in Ukraine and post-election developments in Georgia

EU and UNDP research captures media trends in covering political, economic, and social issues in a post-election environment

April 27, 2022

The European Union (EU) and UNDP released media monitoring reports that analysed the post-election media environment in Georgia. The analysis includes 22 media outlets - six television stations, nine online and seven print media editions. The research was carried out from 24 January 2022 through 23 March 2022 in partnership with the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics and Internews Georgia.

Findings show that during the monitoring period, political developments dominated the media agenda; the intensity of this coverage left little space for economic and social issues. Events surrounding the 2021 local self-governance elections and Georgia’s third President Saakashvili were at the centre of media attention from the beginning of the research period through 23 February 2022.

After war broke out in Ukraine on 24 February, the focus quickly shifted to wartime reporting. All media sectors were equally gripped by the unfolding humanitarian disaster, international support and Georgia’s political and public responses to the crisis. Although all media sectors were focused on developments in Ukraine, their coverage was influenced by deep political divisions in Georgia’s society. The manner in which related events were portrayed and interpreted depended on the editorial preferences of individual media outlets.

Most of the monitored television stations offered conflicting interpretations of political statements made by Georgian and international officials. Specific stations manipulated public opinion by demeaning political positions in Georgia that they did not favour.

Editorial differences became apparent across digital media, which are generally perceived as independent and balanced. Some of the monitored outlets, influenced by Russian information sources, used misleading images, false narratives, and misrepresentation in their coverage.

Wall-to-wall reporting of Georgia’s response to the war in Ukraine was notable across print media. Discriminatory language and homophobic statements remained unresolved issues for some of the monitored editions.

“The EU and UNDP have been facilitating media research in Georgia for about a decade, studying and analysing election reporting throughout nine major electoral cycles. Findings of this research have informed the advancement of the media environment in Georgia and have contributed to promoting media diversity and reducing the use of discriminatory language, thereby increasing the quality of reporting as well as developing civil society watchdog functions,” said Asunción Sánchez Ruiz, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia / Head of Political, Press and Information Section.

“In the context of a devastating war, accurate and ethical reporting is more critical than ever. People need reliable information and quality journalism gives voice to people on the frontlines and those affected by the crisis. It’s an enormous responsibility that must be treated with the utmost care,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia Anna Chernyshova.

Media monitoring reports are available on mediamonitor.ge.

For information and interview requests, please contact:

In the EU and UNDP:

In civil society organizations:

Media monitoring dates:

24 January–23 March 2022

Media monitors:

  • Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics – online media, social media, TV channels
  • Internews-Georgia – press and radio

Monitored media outlets:

  1. TV Ajara
  2. GPB, Channel-1
  3. TV Imedi
  4. TV Mtavari
  5. TV Pirveli
  6. TV Rustavi-2
  1. ambebi.ge
  2. interpressnews.ge
  3. mpn.ge
  4. netgazeti.ge
  5. news.on.ge   
  6. publika.ge
  7. radiotavisupleba.ge
  8. sputnik-georgia.com
  9. tabula.ge
  1. Akhali Taoba
  2. Alia
  3. Asaval-Dasavali
  4. Kviris Palitra
  5. Qronika+
  6. Rezonansi
  7. Saqartvelo da Msoplio