The media environment in Georgia has worsened greatly in 2020-21. Verbal and physical attacks on journalists became frequent. The state does not ensure the safety of journalists. Officials from the ruling party respond to the critical questions from media with hate speech, aggression and boycott. The state propaganda machine labels critical media as political opponents and promotes intolerance towards them. In a politically polarized society, such an attitude towards the media encourages further attacks. Politically motivated lawsuits are being filed against media representatives. The broadcasting regulatory authority is politicized and seeks to impose censorship.
We, representatives of the media and civil society, call on high-ranking decision-makers, the Prime Minister of Georgia, members of Parliament, and the Chairman of the Georgian Dream party:
- Ensure prompt investigation of attacks on journalists and provide information to the public
- Stop politically motivated cases against representatives of media
- Stop aggressive rhetoric and incitement of hatred towards representatives of media
- Stop boycotting critical media and restore professional relations with the media
- Stop using the Communications Commission for political purposes
We believe that meeting these requirements will help reduce polarization in the society, ease tensions and improve the media environment.