The messenger logo

Georgia is among partly free states for media

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, May 1
Georgia is among the partly free states with regards to media freedom, the Freedom House annual survey reads.

Georgia took 93th position out of 197 countries and preceded all its neighbours: Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Russia, which do not enjoy media freedom at all.

Compared to the previous figures Georgia stepped back with one point. However, according to the Freedom House representation there is nothing alarming in the change, as only more than a three points fall might be described as a negative signal.

Helen Aghikian from the organization stresses that there is pressure on certain private media outlets in Georgia, and one of the commercial TV channels has become a battlefield for the Georgian Dream coalition and the opposition United National Movement.

Aghikian told a journalist of the Voice of America that compared to the other Southern Caucasus countries, Georgia’s media environment is transparent and free.

In its annual report, the Freedom House states that the conditions for the media deteriorated sharply in 2014, as journalists around the world faced mounting restrictions on the free flow of news and information—including grave threats to their own lives.

Based on the organization's statistics, the steepest declines worldwide relate to two factors: the passage and use of restrictive laws against the press—often on national security grounds—and the ability of local and foreign journalists to physically access and report freely from a given country, including protest sites and conflict areas.

“Paradoxically, in a time of seemingly unlimited access to information and new methods of content delivery, more and more areas of the world are becoming virtually inaccessible to journalists,” Freedom House states.

“While there were positive developments in some countries, the dominant global trend were negative,” the organization stresses.

When it comes to Eurasia, the report reads that the overwhelming majority of people in the region (82 percent) lived in Not Free media environments.

Russia’s government tightened its grip on the media, suppressing independent reporting and deploying state-controlled outlets to attack domestic dissent and perceived foreign adversaries.

Ukraine was upgraded to Partly Free as the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych’s government led to decreases in political pressure on state media and hostility toward independent voices.

In Azerbaijan, the government unleashed a major crackdown on independent media, employing threats, raids, restrictive laws, and trumped-up criminal charges.