“If the presidential elections were tomorrow, who would you vote for?” – the question given in the International Republican Institute (IRI) opinion poll survey and the answers provided have virtually swallowed public attention while this time too the survey was comprehensive and in addition to other important issues it included public attitude to Georgian media. Commissioned by IRI the survey was carried out by IPM and GALLUP within the period of October 27 to November 1, 2011. Within the scope of the opinion poll survey 4,000 respondents aged over 18 were questioned.
According to the given survey television still remains as the main of source of information to the Georgian population. 97% of the population learns news from TV news and programs. Almost one third of the given figure (28%) shows preference to newspapers. Another source of politics-related information to the Georgian citizens is relatives and friends (19%), followed by internet (14%), radio (14%) and magazines (6%).
IRI surveyed the sources of political information in across Tbilisi, Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti. In case of Tbilisi the picture looks as follows: television – 96%, newspapers – 33%, internet – 26%, radio – 17% and magazines – 5%. Relatives and friends as a source of political information stands between radio and magazines with 9%. This is to say the will and/or affordability to buy magazines is low in the capital city too.
The residents of Kvemo Kartli (89%) and Samtskhe-Javakheti (90%) learn political news through television. The following source of information to them is relatives and friends with 41% and 40% respectively. Afterwards comes newspapers (10% and 20%), internet (7% and 13%), co-workers (3% and 6 %) and magazines (1% and 5%).
In accordance with the survey a part of the Georgian population (only 4% but still) receives political information through TV company Mze, while 2% shows preference to Region TV, 2% to PIK and 1% to Real TV. 5% is watching Channel 2 of the Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB). Compared with the aforementioned TV companies regional televisions enjoy higher ranking (8%), apparently resulted from heavy and tense work carried out by low-income TV companies with few employees. As regards the most watched TV stations, the list includes Rustavi 2 – 90%, Imedi TV – 87%, GPB First Channel – 51%, Maestro – 18%, Kavkasia – 15%, Adjara – 12%, Georgian Patriarchate TV – 8%.
The diagram on TV reliance same leaders appear to be on the top of list across Georgia as well as Tbilisi. 38% across Georgia and 27% acrossTbilisi feels reliance to Rustavi 2. 25% of respondents across Georgia and 16% across Tbilisi place reliance upon Imedi TV, 8% across Georgia – GPB First Channel, 7% - Maestro, 5% - Kavkasia; across Tbilisi 15% - Maestro, 13% - Kavkasia, 7% - GPB First Channel. Equal public reliance is observable across Georgia and Tbilisi in regard to Adjara (1%) and GPB Channel 2 (2%). 3% shows reliance to Region TV across Georgia and 1% across Georgia places reliance on PIK.
According to the findings of the survey the list of most watching newscasts in Georgia includes Kurieri (53%, with 43% showing reliance), Kronika (24%, with 21% showing reliance), Moambe (6% with 7% showing reliance), Ukomentardo (6% with 7% showing reliance), Dghes (4% with 5% showing reliance). Why is Georgian population watching whatever they show little reliance to, of course, there is no clarification provided but the reliance issue is separately discussed in the survey and we’ll get back to it a bit later.
The Kviris Palitra (68%) has turned out to be the most readable newspaper, followed by Asaval- Dasavali - 28%, Alia -13%, Kronika 7%, Rezonansi – 6%, Akhali Taoba – 5%, Guria News 2%, Prime Time – 2%. Two aspects look most interesting in the given diagram. First – appearance of the Guria News in the given list which evidences the paper’s high popularity and the Prime Time being ranked as the last in the list. The given ranking apparently fails to meet the expenses spent on the self- positioning of the newspaper.
In terms of reliance the newspapers are given in similar succession but here too one can find some discrepancy. The list looks as follows: the Kviris Palitra – 43%, Asaval- Dasavali - 12%, Alia -4%, Kronika 3%, Rezonansi – 2%, Akhali Taoba – 2%, Guria News 1%, Saqartveos Respublika – 1%.
According to the present survey Ar Daidardo enjoys highest popularity (47 % with 6% of reliance shows to its news), Imedi (32 % with 17% of reliance shows to its news), Fortuna (17% with 2% of reliance shows to its news), Fortuna + (14 % with 1% of reliance shows to its news), Apkhazetis Khma (11% with 5% of reliance shows to its news), First Channel of Georgian Radio (11 % with 6% of reliance shows to its news), Green Wave (6 % with 1% of reliance shows to its news), Utsnobi (5% with 2% of reliance shows to its news), Sakartvelos Khma (5%), Palitra (4% with 1% of reliance shows to its news), Radio Tavisufleba (3% with 2% of reliance shows to its news), Radio 105 (3% with 1% of reliance shows to its news), Avto Radio (2% with 1% of reliance shows to its news), Second Channel of Georgian Radio (2%), Trialeti (2% with 1% of reliance shows to its news), Atinati (2% with 1% of reliance shows to its news). The diagram also includes radios such as Odishi Plus and Maestro with 1% reliance each.
Ahead of discussing the respondents’ general attitude to media let’s review current data for internet usage. According to the survey internet is used by 18% on a daily basis (36% of them are Tbilisi residents), 20%-24% - 5-6 times per week, 30%-35% once or twice. In total internet is used by 82% of respondents, at friends’ – 11%, in office – 10%, at internet cafés – 3%, vie phone – 1%, other means – 0,4%.
General Public Attitude to Media
Only 14% of respondents say that Georgian media is free in terms of the coverage of political opinions and suffers no control from the authorities; according to 38% media is partly free, 25% thinks media is not fully free, 9% says it is not free and 14% has got no answer to the given question.
According to the opinion poll survey respondents provide the following clarification to the lack of coverage of political opinions: government’s pressure – 65% (the number has gone up by 2% since the May opinion poll), media provides no coverage of bad news, media is corrupt – 5%, other – 0,1%, is unaware – 18%.
According to the given picture Georgian population often watches, reads or listens to whatever is placed not that much reliance upon and most likely that’s due to the lack of choice.