Information warfare does not stop at borders – Roundtable with Germany's development minister in Georgia
As part of her trip to Georgia, the German development minister Schulze, took part in a DW Akademie roundtable in the country's capital, Tbilisi. She assured support in the fight against disinformation.
Russia's war in Ukraine is also increasing political pressure on Georgia's media sector. In 2022, Reporters Without Borders ranked Georgia 89 out of 180 countries, down 29 places from its 2021 position on the World Press Freedom Index.
Many large media houses in Georgia are owned by private individuals with strong political ties and agendas that are reflected in their companies' reporting. Their growing disinformation and propaganda activities, however, are now facing small, regional media outlets that produce critical and independent digital content.
In a discussion with journalists from Georgia as well as Russian journalists in exile and representatives from non-governmental organizations, Svenja Schulze, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, assured additional support in the fight against propaganda and disinformation.
"Disinformation attacks, such as those from Russia, are aimed at weakening our societies. This is true for Georgia and for many other democracies. The most effective countermeasure is well-informed people. Where media can report freely and people know the facts, warmongers don't stand a chance," said Schulze. "Reliable facts and free media are key to successful development in many areas. For this reason, we are working with our partners in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus to strengthen local media and increase the media literacy of the population."
DW Akademie's Managing Director, Carsten von Nahmen, moderated the event.
The round table's host: Carsten von Nahmen, Managing Director, DW Akademie
"Information warfare does not stop at borders. That's why we're committed to the professionalization and economic independence of media, because strengthening free media also strengthens society," said von Nahmen. "People in Ukraine, but also in Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, deserve an independent journalism so that they are able to make independent decisions."
Journalists from Georgia and those exiled from Russia were joined in the discussion by representatives from non-governmental organizations, including Sandro Gigauri from Georgia's Media Development Foundation (MDF).