How does press freedom in Georgia compare to Eastern Europe?
Since 2002, Freedom House has looked at three categories when rating press freedom – the legal, political, and economic environments. The scores from each category are summed to produce the final rating. Looking at data from Georgia since this system was first used shows that the biggest factor contributing to the improvement of Georgia’s score has been the political environment in the country. This factor monitors the extent of political control over the content of news media, taking into consideration editorial independence, media diversity and vibrancy, access to information and sources, censorship, and harassment and intimidation of journalists.
To what extent do indexes such as Freedom House’s reflect how Georgians themselves perceive their media? Data from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey between 2008 and 2013, which asked respondents to assess their level of trust toward the media, show that distrust in the media has remained relatively stable since 2008, ranging between 16% in 2008 and 12% in 2013, all changes being within the margin of error. However, there has been a dramatic decrease in the share of Georgians who state that they fully trust the media – down from 50% in 2008 to 24% in 2013. At the same time, the share of those answering “neither trust nor distrust” the media has almost doubled during the same period. This suggests that public trust in the media is driven in Georgia by other factors than those considered by Freedom House’s index.
Public opinion data suggests that substantial problems remain in the media environment in Georgia. While Georgia’s Freedom House rating is edging closer to other transition countries that are EU member states, such as Hungary and Romania, it is not solely because the situation in Georgia is improving, but because the situation in much of Europe is deteriorating. Notably, Freedom House’s changing press freedom scores do not match up with population’s reported trust in the media in Georgia, which suggests that it may be a good idea for organizations like Freedom House to adjust its scoring methodology.
By Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
By: Dustin Gilbreath
CRRC’s third annual Methodological Conference: Transformations in the South Caucasus and its Neighbourhood
The recent history of the South Caucasus as seen by the world’s media – Part 1, Armenia and Azerbaijan
By Dustin Gilbreath
In terms of the business findings, CRRC's Media Survey (undertaken in September/October 2009) generated extensive data that is available to help media make good business decisions. One recent presentation, summarized here, focused on showing the diversity of data that is available.
Book Review | The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict and Nationhood in the Caucasus | Christoph Zürcher
Brookings Index of Regime Weakness | State Rebuilding or State Collapse in the Caucasus | The Annals of Data
Taking partly free voters seriously: autocratic response to voter preferences in Armenia and GeorgiaDo voters in less than democratic contexts matter or are elections simply facades used to create a veneer of democratic accountability for domestic and international actors? Within the Autocratic Response to Voter Preferences in Armenia and Georgia project, funded by Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, CRRC-Georgia and CRRC-Armenia aimed to help answer this question, at least for Georgia and Armenia. On October 27, Caucasus Survey published the results of the project in a special issue, available here.
During Sargsyan’s incumbency, dissatisfaction with government grew and support for protest increasedSerzh Sargsyan, formerly the President and then Prime Minister of Armenia, resigned from office on April 23rd, 2018, following 11 days of peaceful protest. Over the past 10 years, which coincide with Sargsyan’s time in office, Armenians were increasingly dissatisfied with their government. At the same time, the country witnessed growing civic engagement, with “youth-driven, social media-powered, issue-specific civic activism,” referred to as “civic initiatives”. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data from 2008 to 2017 reflect both these trends.
Surveys carried out in Georgia and in Armenia in 2009 and 2019 asked respondents if they approved or disapproved of doing business with or marriages with people of 12 other ethnicities. So, are Georgians and Armenians becoming more or less tolerant?
Data from the Caucasus Barometer has consistently suggested that Georgians and Armenians are more tolerant of doing businesses with other ethnicities than they are of inter-ethnic marriages.