Category Archives: Freedom House
Georgia was one of the first Soviet republics to declare independence and introduce a multiparty system in 1990. However, the country’s rapid political emancipation coupled with slow institutionalization led to various serious problems. The first non-Communist president Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s loss of power triggered a civil war, and two secessionist conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke out. Later, President Eduard Shevardnadze managed to restore a limited degree of stability, which soon ended in a fragile, corrupt, and inefficient system of governance.
In 2004, the new government launched profound reforms aimed at modernizing the state, the economy, and society. In some respects, these reforms tangibly increased the capabilities of the Georgian state, resulting in better public protection and services. In other areas, such as democratic participation and conflict resolution, the new administration has failed to adequately address the complexities of the issues. Marginalization of the political opposition triggered a political crisis in 2007 that continued throughout 2008 and 2009. Russia and Georgia fought a war in 2008 that ended in occupation and formal recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia.
|National Democratic Governance||n/a||n/a||n/a||5.50||5.50||5.50||5.75||6.00||6.00||5.75|
|Local Democratic Governance||n/a||n/a||n/a||6.00||5.75||5.50||5.50||5.50||5.50||5.50|
|Judicial Framework and Independence||4.25||4.50||4.50||5.00||4.75||4.75||4.75||4.75||4.75||5.00|
Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 15
Political Environment: 26
Economic Environment: 18
Total Score: 59
The constitution and legal system provide for strong protection of freedom of the press. However, in practice the government has sought to stifle independent and opposition media, particularly broadcast media. The authorities have continued their efforts to control editorial and news content at all major television broadcasters in the country.
The Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) remains subject to government influence. After repeated delays, the GNCC in July 2009 issued a 10-year satellite broadcast license to Maestro TV, which is connected to opposition leader and former parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze. Prior to its licensing, several local cable affiliates had reportedly been pressured to suspend rebroadcasts of Maestro TV, and unknown assailants attacked the station’s offices with a grenade in May. After losing a court appeal in October, the small independent television station Channel 25 in the Ajara Autonomous Republic was ordered to pay a US$160,000 fine; the owners of the station claimed the penalty was part of an effort to close it down ahead of local elections.
On April 18, 2011, Freedom House released its latest Freedom on the Net report assessing the degree of internet freedom around the world. The new edition includes detailed country reports and a first-of-its-kind numerical index covering 37 countries in six geographical regions. In addition, an analytical overview essay and accompanying graphics will highlight key findings and emerging threats to global digital media freedom. To view the full report, click here.
|INTERNET FREEDOM STATUS||Partly Free||Partly Free|
|Obstacles to Access||15||12|
|Limits on Content||15||10|
|Violations of User Rights||13||13|
|INTERNET PENETRATION 2009:||30.5 percent|
|WEB 2.0 APPLICATIONS BLOCKED:||No|
|SUBSTANTIAL POLITICAL CENSORSHIP:||No|
|BLOGGERS/ONLINE USERS ARRESTED:||Yes|
|PRESS FREEDOM STATUS:||Partly Free|