On 3 May, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, a media forum entitled “Overcoming Polarisation in Georgia: lessons learnt, media perspective” was opened in Batumi.
The forum focused on situation of media in Georgia, different aspects of media freedom and the main challenges faced by media. The discussion also addressed the role of the Georgian public broadcaster in a polarised media environment. During the event panel participants reviewed extreme political polarisation in Georgia and discussed solutions and ways forward.
During the media form, the Communicathon winning team, Dzialogi, presented their application and received very positive feedback from the forum attendees. The winner of the competition for journalists was announced, and Lasha Kavtaradze’s article “Media and polarisation” also received positive audience feedback.
The second day of the forum consisted of workshops for regional media, including journalists from Batumi and Kutaisi. One of the workshop findings implemented within the project “Strengthening Political Pluralism in Georgia” was that solution-based journalism could reduce the extreme political polarisation. During the workshop, participants learnt about solution-based journalism and how to apply it in their daily work. Participants also discussed how small media outlets can contribute to more pluralism and what role they can play to reduce polarization.
In the end, the participants of the media forum agreed that in order to neutralise Georgia’s extremely polarised media environment, it is necessary to take concrete steps. The participants concluded that the Public Broadcaster should fulfil its obligations to provide a neutral space and ensure unbiased journalism, work to encourage ethical journalism, and strengthen regional and online media.
Photos provided by DRI Georgia’s Facebook page and Bodie.com from Flickr