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MDF – In 2018, government-supported media that advertise hate speech

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Wednesday, October 9
According to the report of the Media Development Foundation, in 2018, as well as in the previous years, the government-funded media outlets that incite hate speech and anti-Western sentiment and engaged in Kremlin propaganda. The report, Financial Transparency of the Media, was published yesterday, on October 8.

According to the MDF, 7 media outlets were identified, out of which the contract with the highest value was signed with the newspaper “Republic of Georgia”. GEL 130 025 was allocated from the budget for the “Republic of Georgia”.

According to the report, the newspaper contains anti-Western, homophobic and Turkophobic content, as well as the various conspiracy theories. For example, on August 21, 2018, an article was published in the newspaper which contained anti-Western and homophobic remarks. Also, in another article published on February 23, 2018, Russia is portrayed as the “only power” that fights against “evil west,” while trying to defend “traditional identity.”

Several authorities ordered the service of the newspaper, such as Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, Municipal Development Fund of Georgia, JSC Georgian State Electrosystem, Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission, etc.

GEL 36 173 from the budget was allocated to the, nsp. According to the report, the agency promotes Russian government media Sputnik's materials and projects. The service of the media outlet was ordered by Special Penitentiary Service of Georgia, The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Election Administration of Georgia, Service Agency of Ministry of Finance, etc.

GEL 8 114 GEL was allocated from Budget to "Marshalpress.” According to the report, Marshalpress also distributed manipulative and misleading content in addition to the trending coverage. The service was ordered by Special Penitentiary Service of Georgia, Keda Municipality, etc.

GEL 3 746 was allocated to Obieqtivi, while GEL 3000 was allocated to the Royal Channel. According to open-source information, only the Central Election Commission (CEC) signed contracts with Obiektivi and Royal Channel in 2018.

According to the Media Development Foundation, part of the GEL 50,000 contract - which cannot be specified - was obtained by online publishers Tbilisi 24 and Alia. It is known that among those who ordered the service of the media outlets is the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia.

The Media Development Foundation, is a non-governmental organization aiming to support open and inclusive society; facilitate full integration of minorities; promote gender equality, diversity and pluralism; protect human rights, freedom of speech and expression; ensure free media environment; contribute to professional and institutional development of media; facilitate the establishment of media accountability and self-regulation mechanisms; promote media literacy, active citizenship and youth activism.