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01.05.2010 20:50

Media.ge - Unique Web Site about Georgian Media

David Mchedlidze
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In Georgia, where the freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed by the Constitution no one complains about the scarcity of media outlets but out of over 200 newspapers, Internet editions, TV and radio stations Media.ge is the only mean of media gleaning and disseminating information mainly for media or the organizations concerned about the work of media. Throughout its five year of operation the web site has gained numerous readers and subscribers in Georgia as well as out of the country. What led the web portal to success?

www.media.ge - this web address is typed by thousands of users on a daily basis. In addition up to 2,000 organizations or individuals worldwide have subscribed to Media.ge bulletin: English and Russian language bulletins are being delivered to over 600 and 300 subscribers respectively. Paata Gurgenidze, Director of the Caucasus Journalists Network is an active user of the web site.

"Today Georgian media is disfigured. Propaganda is its essential trend. Seems like everybody has forgotten that media is to deliver information. Media.ge has got no kind of propagandistic agenda. It provides us with the information of importance in the Georgian media."

The web site about Georgian media provides really comprehensive information. Five years ago, according to Genadi Uchumbegashvili, Executive Director, Internews Georgia, obtaining the information of a kind was a hard task.

David Mchedlidze, Editor-in-chief:

"Whenever I needed information about media I would surf various web sites. I failed to find anything providing information compactly. We decided to fund it through commercial income. I shared my idea over media-oriented daily bulletin with Dato. I was aware my friends in the United States were in need for the information of a kind and that would be of interest in general," Genadi Uchumbegashvili told Radio Tavisufleba. Dato, mentioned by him is David Mchedlidze, Media.ge web editor. In addition to providing information, he said, the web portal is of educational character too: "We constantly publish information about trainings, competitions. The journalist might be unemployed but realize oneself through some kind of project or contest. We have had such cases. Moreover, it's a common platform for journalists." According to David Mchedlidze up to 15 people work on the daily update of the web site. In addition to the translators and technical personnel journalists too work on the website. Lana Beridze is one of them:

"I glean all kind of information related to Georgian media - either a problem or a new program. We run blogs, Media Discussions, we work on news, through the Close Up rubric we gather information about a specific organization, since their foundation up to present."

According to Lana Beridze Media.ge database includes data about 35 TV companies, 34 radio stations, 84 newspapers and 44 online editions. Anyone concerned about the developments in the Georgian media, Zaal Anjaparidze, Head of civil programs, Eurasia Partnership Foundation said, is delivered comprehensive information.

"Media.ge provides not only factual pieces of information but the information about the trends observable in the Georgian media today. Anyone interested in the events taking place in the Georgian media, enjoys a possibility to find it here, whatever is not being published in the newspapers and other media outlets."

That must be the reason the list of Media.ge subscribers includes embassies accredited in Georgia, US State Department, Great Britain's foreign affairs body, Council of Europe, EU representation in Georgia, the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, UN Human Rights Office, international human rights organizations, Public Defender's Office in Georgia and almost all the journalists unions. It is noteworthy that Media.ge can neither complain about the lack of partners. Until 2008 the project had been funded by the OSCE Missions to Georgia. Current supporters of the project include National Endowment for Democracy (NED), US Embassy in Georgia and the Open Society Georgia Foundation. Irakli Tsertsvadze is the representative of the latter:

"We had observing the activities of the web site for a long time. We have had partner relations with Internews Georgia. Having received the proposal our commission of experts reached a decision on funding the trilingual web portal. It's a successful web site. The interface has been changed and become nicer."

In addition to the change of the interface the unification of the Media.ge database was carried out which, according to the web editor, enables easier linking of different pieces of information.

Since 2005 up to13,000 news, interviews and reviews and over 1,500 pieces of information about competitions, trainings and conferences have been published on the web site. It's also important that all the posts in the Georgian, Russian and English languages have been synchronized. In addition the Useful Links option on the website combines up to 150 organizations, including diplomatic missions, international institutes, educational institutions or human rights watchdogs. In short if you are a journalist or a media researcher in need for a free assistant turn the PC on and type www.media.ge in the address bar of your Internet browser.

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