MEDIA ENVIRONMENT ASSESSMENT Local Self-Government Elections in Georgia, 2021 Rounds I & II

The following report aims to assess the media environment during the 2021 local regional government elections and the pre-election period (August 3 to October 30). The methodology includes identification of key challenges and the formation of subsequent recommendations. It also highlights critical cases that occurred before the pre-election period that had a significant impact on the media environment formation. The document contains updates on media entities’ ongoing election disputes with the Communications Commission and Tbilisi City Court.

The report consists of five thematic chapters as well as relevant recommendations.

The first chapter reviews the major political and legal developments that took place in the run-up to the elections that significantly impacted the media environment. The subsequent chapter offers key data on the results of pre-election media monitoring conducted by various actors. Chapter 3 is dedicated to the assessment of challenges identified during election day (Round I), and Chapter 4 describes the important events that took place between the first and second rounds of the elections. The final chapter provides a detailed overview of the shortcomings identified on election day (Round II) and is followed by a section that outlines recommendations developed by the Coalition in response to the identified challenges.

The document was prepared using various tools. It relies on the study and analysis of existing legislation, publicly available research papers, and open-source materials. Methods include:

- Fact finding: Studying open-source video, audio, and print materials.

- Evaluation of pre-election media monitoring reports: Analysis and evaluation of the results of media monitoring conducted by various actors in the first and second rounds of the 2021 local self-government elections. 

- Analysis of legislation: Analysis of the legislative norms regulating the work of the media during the pre-election and election period.