Index 2024
103/ 180
Score : 53.05
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
77/ 180
Score : 61.69
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Official interference undermines efforts to improve press freedom. The environment remains hostile for independent and opposition media, with a growing number of verbal and physical attacks against journalists, and attempts to pass laws aimed at marginalising the independent media and narrowing the space for free speech.

Media landscape

The media landscape is diverse and, at the same time, highly politically polarised. Manipulation, hate speech and disinformation are widespread in the media, especially on television, the main source of information. Media owners often control editorial content, as was the case with Rustavi 2, a TV channel that changed its editorial line after its handover to a former owner. Regional and community radio stations struggle with funding problems, while the print media’s readership is in decline and that of online news outlets is on the rise. 

Political context

The country is undergoing a new and serious political crisis following contested legislative elections in October 2020. This environment is conducive to sustained competition for control of television networks. Although Georgian law prohibits political parties from owning media outlets, the big networks generally defend the interests of their owners, who often have close ties to political leaders. The same goes for state-owned media, which are subject to interference by the authorities. At the same time, the authorities often refuse to respond to media that criticise them and sometimes resort to censorship, raids, smear campaigns and intimidation.

Legal framework

The government still hasn’t fulfilled the European Union’s recommendation on press freedom, a necessary step before starting negotiations on membership. Contrary to previous reforms strengthening pluralism and transparency in the media, it even made clear its aim to control independent radio stations and television networks via a reform of the law on electronic communication, as well as a bill on “foreign agents”, copied from Russian law, which was ultimately scrapped following street protests and international pressure. The courts sometimes try to attack the confidentiality of sources, even though it is guaranteed by the law on freedom of expression.

Economic context

The underdeveloped advertising market is declining in print and online media, which are largely financed by donors, usually from the West. The worrying economic problems of privately owned media have been accentuated by a change in advertising legislation, distorting competition with the heavily subsidised state-owned media.

Sociocultural context

Georgian society is marked by strong social tensions on certain issues, such as religion, LGBTQ+, rights and Russian influence, impacting journalistic coverage. Influential social figures, such as members of the Orthodox clergy, are wiretapped by the security services, thereby violating the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.


Verbal and physical assaults on journalists are frequent, including by senior government officials, especially during electoral campaigns. A sustained and brutal assault on about 50 reporters during homophobic counter-demonstrations in July 2021, in front of impassive security forces, marked an unprecedented setback. The lack of transparency and progress in the investigation speaks to the impunity enjoyed by those who commit crimes against journalists.