The country of Georgia, since its declaration of independence in 1991, has oscillated between independent media booms and independent media repression. One of the most difficult things in trying to understand exactly what the country's media landscape actually looks like, is that - of course - much of the reportage on the media, comes from the media. In many countries that's a bias we accept, draw into our judgements and look past. In Georgia the situation is not quite so simple. Why? Because of the amount of influence the government holds over newspapers, radio and television.
After the Rose Revolution, a protest movement that turned into a national coup in November 2003, Georgia enjoyed four years of relative stability. After November 2007 however, following the abrupt closure of the
government-critical station TV Imedi, relations between the media and
the Georgian government suffered dramatically.
Conflict with Russia in August 2008 further complicated matters and in
2009 media freedom became one of the key political issues between the
government and the opposition, with control of the Georgian Public
Broadcaster one of the prominent sites of disagreement.
So, how do we get the inside story on what's happening in the country? One perspective comes from a new wave of young, politically active reporters in Georgia. Eka Chitanava is a journalist working with Liberali one of the country's few independent news beacons, and here's the first of two exclusive podcasts covering accusations of espionage upon the president's photographer, May's clashes between police and journalists, media training in the country and what's next for the evolution of Georgian reporting.