No doubt about it, media has played a major role in our everyday lives. However, what’s the state of media in Georgia? What are the impacts on the people?
How well do people use and apply social media in daily life? What are the impacts of social media on businesses too?
Media freedom is still an enduring process in countries like Georgia. Many journalists fear discussing matters concerning those in power and economic elites.
David Kezerashvili, the owner of Formula Tv and former politician, sees social media as a strategic tool to stimulate media freedom growth.
Private TV channels are free to establish a protective nexus with the West to ensure the coverage and broadcasting remain independent from the elites. Social media is further a critical tool in executing its duties to the Georgian citizens.
David Kezerashvili has been quoted saying he sees great potential in the youth, saying they are key role players in protecting the media and important public institutions.
The State of Media in Georgia
In the late ’90s, the media and churches were the most trusted to represent people’s issues. Media houses were impartially broadcasting truthful information to the people. The changes in governance over the past decade led to interference with media operations.
But the people could no longer depend on most media outlets for objective reporting. However, the consistent fight against government interference has finally materialized.
It brings forth two new channels that operate independently. The Main Channel and Formula Tv now have broadcasting rights, which allow them to hold political talks and news.
The Potential of Social Media
Over the last decade, Georgian participation in social media has significantly increased, giving hope for long-lasting freedom of expression.
Out of a 3.98million population, 2.74 million have access to the internet. 77.8% of the population uses social media. The numbers are still growing, giving hope to a country where almost 60% of the population lives in urban areas.
Formula TV is one of the new private TV channels that plans to utilize social media to reach a promising younger generation that shall protect Georgia’s interests.
According to the owner of the channel, social media is hard to regulate, hence it helps protect journalistic freedom. People can mobilize and engage in deeper discussions about matters affecting them. They can also connect with other like-minded people countrywide.
Besides, it is the best platform for independent journalists to reach the public without seeking clearance from corporate heads. The ability to spread news rapidly makes it easy for people to share opinions and be heard.
Kezerashvili Gives Voice To FormulaTVFormulaTv exercises the highest standards of free impartial journalism. David Kezerashvili’s primary objective is to ensure such independence is sustained in the long run by using his position to involve western counterparts in Formula’s supervision.
This will help ensure the station retains its editorial freedom. After his announcement as the 51% shareholder of Formula TV, David expressed his interest in engaging the youth in the fight against media control. Besides, the youth are the most active on social media.
Therefore, feeding them with transparent information could help secure the future as they are more willing to implement changes. Private TV channels could be the best way to equip the youth because of their diversified media reporting and social media reach.
Formula TV is committed to the fight against propaganda, especially from authoritarian neighbors such as Russia.
Besides, the owner’s personal experience as a former Chief of Financial Police and defense minister provides him with an understanding of how the systems work, promising an outstanding leadership for the station.
One of the main objectives has been to facilitate a system for the public to share their opinions and get constructive responses. To promote impartial journalism, Formula has also employed some former Rustavi 2 management journalists, who quit in disagreement with broadcasting propagated news.
The media must be a government watchdog for the rule of law to thrive. Therefore, the media should fight against political interference at all costs.
If Georgia’s media scope is to change, it has to begin with leaders who are willing to do what it takes to protect the country’s democracy.
Georgia is now part of the EU and should conduct itself accordingly not to fall back into the old retrogressive ways. Being close to authoritarian neighbors makes it even harder for such a small nation to protect its democratic dreams.
However, if the media gains control to perform its duty without feeling threatened, it could help sustain a healthy connection between the people and the government. Lastly, the youth should utilize their social media by advocating against poor leadership.