The training for the project "Media Voice”: Media - More Freedom and Less Self-Censorship" started on May 7 in Tbilisi. In the coming months, trainings will continue throughout Georgia with the involvement of media workers. The project aims to support freedom of expression by enhancing the viability of the media and creating a supportive media environment. It also strengthens the resilience of media workers in dealing with self-censorship and fear.
The topics of the training are: media and self-censorship, freedom of expression, human rights and media, solidarity journalism. In addition to that, at each training session, experts discuss the current topic of the month.
Media Voice trainers and experts are as follows:
Irine Kurdadze - Director of the Institute of International Law (TSU), Professor;
Teona Tskhomelidze, media expert and journalist;
Zura Vardiashvili, Editor-in-Chief of Publika, Lecturer;
Tamar Aleksidze, Expert and Lecturer in International Law (Institute of International Law).
The first meeting was attended by both experienced and entry-level journalists.
The project was opened by the founder and chairman of MCERC, Prof. Mariam Gersamia. During his session, she spoke about self-censorship and freedom of expression, in particular:
What do self-censorship and freedom of speech have to do with each other?
How do we understand that self-censorship exists?
How and why does self-censorship arise?
How can we make journalists feel safer?
How do we reduce self-censorship and its harmful effects on journalists?
What is the role of various structures, organizations, activists and journalists themselves throughout this process?
How to increase stress resistance, which enhances self-censorship?
The importance of the project was discussed by Director of the Institute of International Law (TSU) Prof. Irine Kurdadze.
She spoke briefly about the importance of the legal aspects of freedom of expression. He reviewed the activities of the Institute of International Law (TSU) and highlighted the merits of the founder of the institute - Levan Aleksidze, in terms of establishing the institute and international law in the Georgian academic space in general:
"Levan Aleksidze established the School of International Law and raised generations who still play an important role in the field of international law," said Irine Kurdadze. During the discussion, Irine Kurdadze answered the questions of the journalists and spoke in detail about the procedures related to the EU questionnaire and the human rights component.
Tamar Aleksidze, an expert in international law, spoke about the role of freedom of expression in international human rights law, European standards (established by the Strasbourg court), the role of journalists and the media in building a democratic state, etc. during the session – “Freedom of Expression and Media”
"The state is obliged to create an environment conducive to the media, which will be a defender of freedom of expression and the safety of journalists," - said Tamar Aleksidze.
Associate Professor and MCERC Board Member Maia Toradze spoke about the importance of media and solidarity in the media. She highlighted:
Solidarity journalism (in the context of human rights, the importance of proper coverage of vulnerable groups);
Solidarity between media organizations;
The importance of public support for the media.
Media expert and journalist Teona Tskhomelidze spoke about the specifics of covering vulnerable groups. After the session, media experts and legal experts discussed the appropriateness of using sensitive and neutral terminology in the coverage of the queer community as well as other minorities.
Sessions continued in fluid-response and live-discussion mode.
Zura Vardiashvili, an expert on “Media Voice” and editor-in-chief of "Publica", spoke about the specifics of criminal coverage based on specific media cases;
The “Media Voice” project will help raise awareness of the challenges of freedom of expression, self-censorship, and solidarity journalism; the network of professional media support and solidarity will be strengthened; Journalists will be able to cover human rights issues more accurately, without fear or self-censorship.
Within the framework of the project, training and seminars for media workers, forums, meetings, and discussions in support of solidarity journalism, a series of podcasts and awareness-raising campaigns are all planned throughout Georgia in 2022-2023.
MCERC actively cooperates with media organizations and higher education institutions. The main partners of the project "Media Voice" are the TSU Institute of International Law (Jean Monet Chair / UEUPE), the University of Georgia, and Publika.
MCERC project "Media Voice: More Freedom, Less Self-Censorship in the Media" is implemented with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia.
To participate please register at the following link: