On February 24 Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel hosted the roundtable meeting on Public reliance to Georgian media. The event was held within the EU-funded project Strengthening Media's Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia.The goal of the meeting was to work out recommendations for means of media as well as for relevant bodies in order to raise public reliance to Georgian media.
Journalists, media experts, media researchers and NGOs carrying out media projects took part in the roundtable. The results of the survey carried out by the Caucasus Research Resource Center of Eurasia Partnership Foundation which reflects current situation in the Georgian media and the attitude of the Georgian population towards Georgian media.
The meeting was attended by Ambassador Per Erklund, Head of the EC Delegation to Georgia having pointed out that the survey has revealed strong and weak sides of the Georgian media.
According to him the strong side of the Georgian media is the interest of the Georgian population to obtaining information, in addition television influences the formation of the public opinion.
But, Ambassador continued, the information disseminated by Georgian TV media is contrasting.
"National channels cover news in a positive way, and other Tbilisi-based TV companies conduct either negative or neutral coverage," Per Erklund assessed it as a weak side of the Georgian media.
In addition Per Erklund welcomed a new initiative by the Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB), in particular the launching of the GPB news outlet Moambe broadcasting in the languages of ethnic minorities.
"I do hope this undertaking will have a positive result and will be conducive to the integration of ethnic minorities in the society," said the Head of the EC Delegation to Georgia.
Per Erklund recollected the Charter of Ethics adopted Georgian journalists with the support of EU.
This important step should bring relevant outcome in terms of raising public reliance towards media, Per Erklund pointed out.
Making a speech at the meeting journalist Zviad Koridze said in the postmodern society there is no place for the question such as "Do you trust information?" According to him Georgian media today is soaked with stereotypes.
"Georgian journalism should once and forever say that information belongs to neither authorities nor the opposition or the journalist himself/herself. A citizen is the only one having a right to own information," Koridze added.
In addition to other issues Shorena Shaverdashvili, Editor-in-chief, the Liberal magazine stressed the scarcity of financial revenue of print media and cited her magazine as an example.
"Business sector declines advertising through print media," Shaverdashvili said. For instance, we offered big banks absolutely free advertising but thy declined our suggestion."
According to Shaverdashvili independent Georgian media is in need for international aid.
In addition Shorena Shaverdashvili discussed the low rating of GPB programming.
"None of the programs has got a rating. The index ranges to 0,42-0,63%. We may compare it with no pulse beating," Shaverdashvili said.
Lika Chakhunashvili of the GPB Board of Trustees requested NGO representatives to actively collaborate with the Board members so that GPB could "fully fulfill its function in front of the society."
The journalists participating in the meeting also stressed the private national channels ownership-related issue. From their standpoint this topic is undisclosed for the society.
In the course of the meeting other problems existing in Georgian media, in particular no access to public information and GEL 15 fee for public information were discussed.
According to Nino Zuriashvili, head of the Monitor Studio said the GEL 100 fee for submitting the complaint to the court for undisclosing public information is another hindrance to the journalist to perform his/her professional duty.