NGO news

Hidden political ads in Georgian election campaign

by | Oct 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch — During the election campaign in Georgia there were hidden political advertisements on TV.

This is the result of a study by the Human Rights Center in Tbilisi. The group have studied advertising clips and found examples of hidden commercials on TV during the period September 10-23.

According to the survey, advertisements of the National Movement and advertisements against oppositional party Georgian Dream were most frequently aired on Rustavi 2 and Imedi, channels considered to be government controlled until a confusing situation appeared shortly after the result of the parliamentary election became clear. The number of advertisements of other opposition political parties was less than those for the National Movement.

Kavkazia and TV 9 which were considered as oppositional channels until the 1 October election, did not air the advertisements of the Labor Party because this party boycotted the TV channels and refused to place its ads with them.

Advertisement for the United National Movement, the former ruling party, contained negative characteristics about Georgian Dream. “Georgia will not go back to the past,” was one of the messages in the ads. The authors of the survey think that the context of the phrase is that if Georgian Dream wins, the country will head back towards the past.

There was an advertisement against Georgian dream on Rustavi 2, where the different speeches of Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the party, were edited together. He was talking about the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimer Putin, and it was claimed that Ivanishvili has never said anything critical about Putin.

Ucha Nanuashvili, head of Human Rights Center, says that this is a serious violation and really affects the election environment.

He also mentioned that in the election period, conditions for various political parties to use the time of political commercials were unequal and this was another serious violation.

Aleko Tskitishvili, editor of the online newspaper of Human Rights Center, said that the balance was tilted in favor of UNM. He thinks the Georgian Public Broadcaster was more balanced, but adds that there was one advertisement about the Defense Ministry that did not have subtitles indicating it, but in reality it was a political ad.

Despite this, Aleko Tskitishvili said that compared to before, the number of social ads with a hidden political meaning has decreased.



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