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Trust declines; ambivalence to Georgian media rises, CRRC survey says

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, September 28
The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), a network operating in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to strengthen social science and policy analyses in the South Caucasus, has released data on how is public trust to Georgia’s media nationwide.

The post released by CRRC stressed the population’s trust in the media “has been declining steadily since 2008”, while ambivalent attitude “has been increasing”.

This increase in ambivalence referred to the fact that people had difficulty stating their opinions about the media, and had no clear answers whether they trusted the media or not.

“Between 2008 and 2015, reported trust in the media declined by 28 percentage points in Georgia. The biggest drops are between 2008 and 2009 (under the previous United National Movement Gov’t) and between 2011 and 2012(Under the United National Movement Gov’t),” the CRRC reported.

“Interestingly, over the same period, the reported level of distrust in the media has remained rather steady. Ambivalence, however, is rising. The share of the population responding that they ‘neither trust nor distrust’ the media climbed from 28 percent in 2008 to 54 percent in 2015,” the post added.

The organisation claimed that over time, the population’s positive assessment of how well TV journalists inform the population about what is going on in the country has also declined, while their ambivalence has risen.

“Since 2009, the share of the population who reported believing that TV journalists, overall, serve the interests of people like them decreased by 13 percentage points, while ambivalence increased by 15 percentage points,” CRRC said.

“The population of Georgia’s trust in the media has been steadily declining since 2008. Interestingly, this decline coincides with an increase in ambivalent attitudes rather than distrust,” the organisation said.

The CRRC highlighted that the same was reflected in assessments of how well TV journalists keep the public informed and how well they represent the interests of 'regular' people.

“In all cases, positive assessments have decreased, while ambivalence has increased. If the trends marked here are indeed general shifts in attitudes towards the media, as the data for available years suggests, this has the potential to point to long-term changes that are less attached to specific political events or media scandals and may indicate avenues for further research on public opinion in Georgia about the media,” the post said in its conclusion.

Such surveys are always important, as the media always plays one of the key roles of any country’s life.

The fact that Georgian people have no clear view whether they trust in the media or not is quite natural, as media outlets, especially leading ones, have always been the subject of confrontations and disputes in the country.

Successive Georgian Governments have tried to bring leading under their influence, and although situation has improved, as the level of media freedom, compared to previous years, has increased, however, some question marks still remain.

Unlike previous years, the Internet and social media have people more critical of conventional broadcasters.

Critical attitudes are on the rise, as younger generations use increasingly using the Internet. The more critical people are in the future, the more alert a media outlet will have to be to meet the public demands.