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Georgian Service's Reporting Raises Awareness, Wins Awards

Georgia -- Rally protesting violence against women. Tbilisi, November 25, 2014.

Journalists with RFE/RL’s Georgian Service were lauded in 2014 for reporting reflecting the highest journalistic standards and contributing to human understanding and peace, with many of the honors recognizing the service’s attention to the role of gender in society.

"Gender Issues" host Marina Vashakmadze. November 2014.
"Gender Issues" host Marina Vashakmadze. November 2014.

The Georgian office of UN Women named Marina Vashakmadze, RFE/RL’s Tbilisi bureau chief, one of 12 Georgian women who “made a change” in journalism in 2014 through their coverage of issues relating to gender inequality.

Lasha Bughadze, a blogger for the Service, was recognized by the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) for the Best Social Media Profile blog post. In the post, “Be Lysistratas,” Bughadze comments on the frequent violence experienced by women in Georgia, and calls on Georgian women, like Lysistrata, to defend their rights, champion women’s leadership in social, political, and economic life, and support each other.

Gender is also a focal point of Eka Kevanishvili’s study, “Violence as a Part of the Culture,” which won the prize for the Best Radio Report by the Georgian Journalistic Ethics Charter.

Tbilisi: Eka Kevanishvili, correspondent of RFE/RL's Georgian service.
Tbilisi: Eka Kevanishvili, correspondent of RFE/RL's Georgian service.

In a second award, Kevanishvili's "Convicted Poems," which portrays the harsh conditions in the country's prisons, was voted the Best Radio Report by the Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) and the Human Rights House Tbilisi (HRHT). Georgian Service colleagues Goga Aptsiauri, Thea Thopuria, and Nino Tarkhnishvili received honorary awards for their reporting.

Goga Aptsiauri won the EUMM’s Special Prize for Peace Journalism for his report, “Pain and Hope from Sarajevo,” which conveys his impressions and experiences traveling to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Aptsiauri’s article was informed by his own first-hand experience with war as a journalist working in the conflict zone around South Ossetia. In remarks upon accepting the award, he said, “we, journalists working in the region…probably best of all know the price of peace…”

Regarding the many honors received by his colleagues, Georgian Service Director David Kakabadze said he was not surprised.

“My colleagues are incredibly professional, brave, and to some extent, idealistic,” he said, adding, "They have rejected other job offers and chosen to stay with RFE/RL due to the high editorial independence they could not receive in different circumstances.”

The Georgian Service, known locally as Radio Tavisupleba, dramatically increased its profile in Georgiain 2014 with 18 new hours of programming on the Green Wave FM frequency.

The EUMM journalism prizes are juried awards given annually to distinguished journalists in written press, TV, radio and social media that have contributed to promoting a better understanding of the values of the European Union.

- Furugh Nahib