Nat'l Communications Commission Launches Media Literacy Project

The Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) has started implementation of a Media Literacy Project which envisages raising the quality of media and helping people to develop critical thinking skills so that they can better analyze information provided by the media.

The commission plans to develop the project in four directions:

1. A 3-6-month course for media managers, producers and journalists. The goal of the course is to assist media representatives to increase the knowledge and qualification of multimedia content.

2. The development of media criticism that will help journalists and producers in their work and to function as a guide for consumers to choose which media products to use.

3. Raising awareness of consumers in order to help them distinguish real and fake news and good and poor quality products.

4. Creation of Media Lab, which will support and fund start-ups in digital media. Start-uppers who develop interesting projects in the direction of digital media will be given a chance to receive funding from Media lab.

The Chair of the GNCC, Kakha Bekauri, says that in the modern era, the only instrument for creating a good quality media product is to develop media literacy.

In his interview with Imedi TV, Bekauri explained that for start-uppers as well as acting journalists and media managers, the Georgian National Communications Commission will establish an academy within the framework of the Media Literacy Project, where they will be able to improve their skills.

“The main emphasis will be placed on technological development and its effect on media. From classical media, we are moving to multimedia. In this regard, we do not have a good situation in Georgia. Even big companies have not developed multimedia products yet,” Bekauri stated.

The Chair of the GNCC added that there is no longer a demand for large format media products, but on short and compact ones that are compatible with smartphones and computers.

“The model of media business has changed, because the platform is changing and moving to an internet format,” he explained.

Bekauri underlined that although the GNCC is a state body, it is absolutely independent from the state institutions, adding it will not affect media pluralism in training the journalists.

“We do not force anyone to study and raise their qualifications in our academy. It is voluntary to participate in our trainings. The whole process is based on the desire of both sides,” he said.

As for media pluralism in particular, Bekauri says the situation is ideal in Georgia.

“Until 2012, the number of national broadcasters numbered four. Since 2012, the number has increased five times and today there are 21. The number of general TV broadcasters has also doubled, and today there are 98 broadcasters in Georgia,” he added.

In December 2017, the Parliament of Georgia adopted amendments to the Georgian Law on Broadcasting and commissioned a new function to the GNCC that includes promoting and developing media literacy in the country.

Within the framework of the project, the American media expert at Long Island University, Mitch Semel, has already trained the staff of the GNCC and journalists.

By Thea Morrison

10 May 2018 19:07