Anti-Western Propaganda in Georgia

Published: 12 June 2018

Country: Georgia

Anti_West-Cover-ENGIn Georgia, the media is very often used as a propaganda tool. Due to tense relations between Russia and the USA, and the rest of the Western world, media is often used as a tool to serve the motives of either of the parties. Georgian media has a pro-Kremlin agenda due to political inclinations and therefore is used to disseminate misinformation regarding the Western world through its messages, sometimes subtly and sometimes in a more direct manner.

This was the conclusion drawn in a recent study conducted by the Media Development Foundation (MDF), in which they analysed the anti-Western messages and fake news spread in the Georgian media. The research aims to look at different media outlets, including mainstream and print media to monitor the pattern of dissemination of fake news and anti-Western perspective throughout different Georgian media platforms.

The study, titled “Anti-Western Propaganda”, looks at various statements made in Georgian broadcast and print media that establish the West, particularly the USA, as an enemy state. For example, Valeri Kvaratskhelia, a presenter for TV Obieqtivi said during one of the shows: “The USA has recently created a terrorist state, the so-called Islamic State, and used it for strengthening its hegemony in the Middle East. It was primarily Russia that went against it because Russia believed that the existence of a terrorist state was unacceptable.”

Jaba Khubua, journalist for Asaval-Dasavali paper wrote: “…the Georgian government, fearing Kelly [United States Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly], abstains from engaging in dialogue with Russia and discussing the de-occupation of the country in a principled and dignified manner, without saviours and ear-whisperers!”.

Not only the USA, but also Europe is portrayed in the Georgian media as an unsafe place, susceptible to terrorism and a migrant crisis. “Europeans have turned into the refugees in their own countries… The same will happen to Georgia which is already inundated by Arab, Indian, Chinese and African migrants,” says Arno Khidirbegishvili, editor-in-chief for Sakinformi.

The key findings of the study suggest that anti-Western messages in the Georgian media have significantly increased in 2017 as compared to 2016 and 2015. The study also explores the phenomenon of fake news in the Georgian media. Upon fact-checking and verification of 144 fake news items it was found that a vast range of fake photos and videos by anti-Western and pro-Kremlin media outlets were disseminated to serve their own agendas. The study also looks at social media and how it is often used as a tool to disseminate fake news and fabricate stories, as well as cultivate conspiracies.

You can find the full study here.