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RFE/RL’s Georgian Service: Radio Tavisupleba

Radio Tavisupleba is a rare source of balanced journalism in a country where much of the press openly supports, both editorially and through the selection of news, either the government or the opposition.

Fast Facts

  • Language: Georgian, Russian
  • Established: 1953
  • Distribution: Radio (FM, satellite), TV, Internet (website, mobile, social media)
  • Coverage: Radio: 18 hours daily; Television: Artarea TV (2 hours daily), Georgian Public TV (1,5 hours/week)
  • Affiliates: 180 affiliate radio & TV stations in Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia, and Montenegro
  • Locations: Prague, Tbilisi
  • Staff: 10 (Prague), 21 (Tbilisi), more than 50 stringers (including those in breakaway regions)

Media Environment

  • Freedom House Freedom of the Press Index, 2016: Partly Free (49th/100)
  • Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, 2016: 64th/180
  • Georgia decriminalized defamation in accordance with European standards in 2004.

Highlights

  • In December, 2015 the Georgian Service, in cooperation with the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), launched “InterVIEW,” a weekly TV show that consists of in-depth, 30-minute interviews with politicians, newsmakers, and academics in Georgia and abroad. The show is hosted in Prague by Salome Asatiani who, via videolink, poses hard-hitting questions to the guests that are invited to RFE/RL’s Tbilisi Bureau. So far she has hosted the parliament speaker, several cabinet ministers, as well as opposition leaders, MPs and the ombudsman. The show has also hosted international guests, e.g. Francis Fukuyama, prominent U.S. political scientist, and Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, who currently heads the Party of European Socialists. “InterVIEW,” together with Tavisupleba’s other weekly TV project, Red Zone, are widely regarded as establishing and promoting standards of serious, analytical, and critical journalism in Georgia.
  • In April 2014, the Georgian Service expanded its radio broadcasts to 18 hours today, via FM transmitters leased from Radio Green Wave. The expansion on this nationwide network dramatically increased Tavisupleba’s reach and impact, mobilizing the strengths of both RFE/RL and our partners at Voice of America to offer all Georgians a diverse blend of trustworthy news and analysis. The mix of content allows Tavisupleba to address the informational needs not only of ethnic Georgians, but also those of Georgia's largest ethnic and linguistic minorities (Armenians, Azeris, and Russians).
  • Georgian Service journalists were lauded in 2015 for reporting that reflected the highest journalistic standards and contributed to human understanding and peace, with many of the honors recognizing the service’s attention to the role of gender in society.
  • Blog posts by Tavisupleba authors routinely receive over 100 comments, while the service’s Facebook page has over 150,000 fans, a high number for a small country with limited web access.
  • In November 2009, the service launched “Ekho Kavkaza" (Echo of the Caucasus), a daily one-hour Russian-language program for Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In its first five years, "Ekho Kavkaza" has firmly established itself as a trustworthy, impartial and informative media outlet, overcoming mistrust between the peoples of the conflict zones.
  • In 2016 Tavisupleba celebrated the 10th anniversary of its "Liberty Diaries" -- an annual compendium of books based on a weekly radio/video program in which Georgians from all walks of life read their impressions over a seven-day period on air.

Updated: 13 April 2016

Facts & Stats about Georgia

  • Population: 3.727 million (World Bank estimate, 2014)
  • Most Common Languages: Georgian, Russian, Armenian, Azeri
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 49 out of 100 (2016)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 64 out of 180 (2016)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 48 out of 168 (2015)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 85 out of 162 (2016)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Georgia (2016)
  • Amnesty International: Georgia Report (2015/2016)​
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