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RFE/RL, VOA Partnership Boosts Georgian Broadcasts

The Georgian national flag at an election rally in Tbilisi, October 24, 2013. (REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili)
The Georgian national flag at an election rally in Tbilisi, October 24, 2013. (REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili)
RFE/RL's Georgian Service, known locally as Radio Tavisupleba, expanded its broadcasts to 18 hours today, via FM transmitters leased from Radio Green Wave, the Service's longtime broadcast affiliate in Georgia. RFE/RL executives say the expansion on Green Wave's nationwide network of 16 transmitters will dramatically increase the reach and impact of its programming in this vital Caucasus market.

RFE/RL Editor-in-Chief Nenad Pejic hailed the expansion of programming, calling it "an ideal opportunity to mobilize the strengths of both RFE/RL and our partners at the Voice of America to offer the people of Georgia a diversity of balanced, credible news and analysis found nowhere else on the country's airwaves."

Pejic noted that the mix of programming allows RFE/RL to address the informational needs not only of ethnic Georgians, but also of Georgia's largest ethnic and linguistic minority groups.

Following an offer by Radio Green Wave in late 2013, RFE/RL worked with VOA's Georgian Service to program the 8:00am-2:00am stream with content from Radio Tavisupleba and its Russian-language Ekho Kavkaza ("Echo of the Caucasus") unit, as well as RFE/RL's Russian Service, Armenian Service, and Azerbaijani Service. VOA's Learning English and Music Mix services are also part of the programming, and a live newscast runs at the top and bottom of each hour.

Radio Tavisupleba, which has broadcast since 1953, is a trusted source of balanced journalism in a country where much of the press openly supports, both editorially and through the selection of news, either the government or opposition parties. The Service's programs target educated, 20-40 year old professionals and opinion leaders frustrated with the country's polarized media market who seek independent information and perspectives. The Service's Russian-language Ekho Kavkaza seeks to use impartial reporting to overcome mistrust between the peoples of Georgia and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.