June 10, Marriott Hotel, Tbilisi - Ukrainian consulting company Pro.mova held the presentation of the final report of media monitoring. The monitoring period covers April and May and provides the analysis of seven TV companies such as GPB First Channel, GPB Channel 2, Rustavi 2, Imedi, Maestro, Kavkasia and Adjara. According to the Pro.mova representatives they encountered problems with Channel 2 and this channel was included in the only segment. The monitoring was focused on news programs and pre-election TV projects including talk shows, paid and free-of-charge political advertising.
The Central Election Commission of Georgia (CEC) commissioned Pro.mova to conduct pre-election media monitoring. Georgian BCG, IPN and Prime Time separately conducted qualitative and quantitative monitoring, the Ukrainian media monitoring company summarized the outcome of the monitoring and presented the results.
According to the report out of all type of political advertisements aired through GPB First Channel Gogi Topadze, opposition candidate for Tbilisi Mayor is leading the list with 15:19:54 hrs of total length. The election subject nominated by Topadze-Mretsvelebi is followed by another opposition nominated candidate Irakli Alasania of the election bloc Alliance for Georgia with 13:06:11 hrs. Approximately equal airtime was apportioned to Gigi Ugulava, nominated by the ruling United National Movement (UNM) (4:49:16) and Zviad Dzidziguri (5:39:58) of the opposition election bloc National Council.
Similar to GPB1 Gogi Topadze (10:26:37) and Irakli Alasania (8:27:44) are leading the list on Rustavi 2 too. Topadze's political TV spots most frequently aired on Imedi TV as well. On all three channels approximately equal airtime was apportioned to Irakli Alasania (4:35:30), Gigi Ugulava (3:54:09), opposition union National Council (3:56:59) and United National Movement (3:46:11).
Kavkasia TV apportioned most of airtime for political TV spots to Irakli Alasania (5:02:35), followed by Magda Anikashvili, majoritariain candidate nominated by Christian-Democratic Movement for Tbilisi Sakrebulo elections.
In terms of advertising, according to the report, Adjara TV appears to be least balanced. 5:23:23 hrs were apportioned for political TV spots by the National Council while Christian-Democratic Movement was dedicated just 0:54:10 hrs.
With regard to talk shows, in line with the survey, all mayoral candidates were almost equally presented on GPB1, in particular: Irakli Alasania 1:34:32; Zviad Dzidziguri 1:33:03, Gogi Topadze 1:10:44, Nika Ivanishvili 1:08:18, Gia Chanturia 1:05:07, and unlike them Gigi Ugulava was apportioned just 0:16:00.
The tone of coverage of each of the candidates was neutral, negative tone was observable towards the UNM candidate. Unlike previous reports the final version provides the number of questions posed to candidates by talk show anchors. People's Party of the National Council counts the highest number of questions, according to the report. The least of the questions (4) were posed to the UNM representatives.
As regards political parties they were almost equally represented in the talk shows but the UNM enjoyed the least of airtime. The tone of their coverage was neutral but negative pieces of information were observed too.
According to the report Irakli Alasania was dedicated most of airtime (1:39:59) in the talk show aired on Rustavi 2, though the remaining candidates enjoyed a considerable airtime too. The tone of coverage to each of them was either positive or negative, and seldom - neutral. In addition the anchor posed most of the questions to the representatives of the opposition party Liberty.
All mayoral candidates were almost equally presented in the Imedi TV talk show. The tone of coverage was essentially positive, negative and neutral tone was observed to exclusively Gigi Ugulava.
As regards Kavkasia TV all candidates were equally covered. Neutrally negative tone was apparent to Gigi Ugulava only.
In the final report the coverage of election subjects in the news programs was dedicated a considerable time. According to the Pro.mova survey GPB1 news outlets dedicated most of airtime to the ruling party candidate Gigi Ugulava followed by Irakli Alasania and Zviad Dzidziguri. All of the candidates were neutrally covered. Positive and negative tone was observed to the ruling party candidate and negative to - Zviad Dzidziguri.
As regards GPB Channel 2, unlike all other TV companies, the candidates enjoy a possibility to talk about themselves instead of others. All of them were almost equally presented. Adjara TV news programs dedicated most of its airtime to Zviad Dzidziguri (0:08:13) and Irakli Alasania (0:05:28). Negative tone was observed to the National Council candidate, and positive to - Gigi Ugulava.
The data for Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV is almost similar. The amount of information aired through the aforementioned TV companies is considerably far ahead of the rest of the candidates. The TV stories of neutral, negative and positive tone were observed to all of the candidates.
Gigi Ugulava is leading on Maestro TV but unlike Rustavi 2 and Imedi, he was being talked about, he himself in person was less visible.
According to the survey Kavkasia TV news provided a different picture. Irakli Alasania is presented as a leader (0:34:43) being mainly covered in a neutral way, negative tone was observed too though. Negative pieces of information mainly referred to Gigi Ugulava and Gia Chanturia, another mayoral candidate of the Christian-Democratic Movement.
In the course of the monitoring, the OSCE expert Evgeni Glebovitskii, governing partner of Pro.mova said, essentially the analysis of the content was focused on. According to him the topics the candidates talked about, the tone and attitude to the journalists was far more important than the airtime apportioned to the candidates.
According to the CEC chairman Zurab Kharatishvili the public broadcaster worked the best in the pre-election period.
"From my viewpoint GPB showed a good example to other TV companies in terms of balanced coverage. Others should work in this direction. CEC on its side is going to publish its assessment later," Kharatishvili said.
Even though the GPB activities were positively evaluated by observers Levan Gakheladze, Chairman of the GPB Board of Trustees still had some remarks in regard to the method of survey.
"Methodologies are diverse, a positive trend according to one methodology might be considered as negative according to another one. In addition it's incomprehensible to us what problems they encountered in regard to GPB Channel 2. Why they were unable to count the data when the monitoring over Channel 2 was the easiest task," said Levan Gakheladze.In the course of the discussion held following the presentation of the report, attended by only GPB representative (Levan Gakheladze) out off all monitored broadcasters, CEC Chairman admitted he too had remarks in regard to the methodology. Zurab Kharatishvili added that until the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled to be held in two years time CEC is going to devote much of its attention. Through the specialists' assistance, he said, the media monitoring methodology should be elaborated to provide an actual picture of media activities in the pre-election period.