Media Development Foundation, MDF presents the monitoring results on the issue: Coverage of Health Issues by Georgian Media. The present survey is the analysis of articles and TV stories on health themes published and aired during the period of June-July, 2011. The report is prepared within the frames of the project – "Media Monitoring for Professional Media”. (supported by Open Society – Georgia Foundation, OSGF).
The subject of the analysis were the publications of the newspapers – "Qronika”, "Rezonansi”, "Alia”, "Kviris Palitra” and "Asaval-dasavali” as well as the TV stories aired by TV companies – "Rustavi 2”, "Imedi”, "Public Broadcasting”, "Maestro” and "Kavkasia”.
The following criteria were used for analyzing published materials: accuracy, balance, the number of sources and specification, writing style, the structure of the material, quotations, lead and relevance of visual material.
Besides the above listed general evaluation criteria we made the encoding system of printed and TV materials used to summarize and analyze the results. (See the attached encoding form).
The report is based on the analysis of 241 publications and 411 TV stories.
The author of the report is Tiko Tsomaia, the Assistant Professor of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management of Georgian Institute of Public Affairs. The co-authors of the study are the students and graduates of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management of Georgian Institute of Public Affairs: Kate Gigashvili, Nino Gelashvili, Lika Zakashvili, Sophie Mgaloblishvili, Tamar Mshvenieradze, Tako Merabishvili, Lika Moshiashvili, Mariam Jachvadze.
The main results of the research are as follows:
•On the basis of the analysis it was revealed that we can often find several materials connected health issues in one and the same issue of the newspaper.
•The information of consumer character is represented in the form of short news, the sources for which are agencies as a rule or Georgian or foreign web-sites or the source is not indicated. Sometimes the reader doesn’t even know which foreign media means is used by the journalist.
•In the information spread by the Georgian media we often come across the fact of violence, (domestic violence, sexual abuse, torture, the physical insult of citizens by law enforcement agencies), about the importance of healthy life mode and medical insurance of the families affected by natural disasters. Stories about errors of doctors are also frequent.
•We also see the articles of advertising character.
•There is a tendency to politicize health topics but this feedback in most cases is artificial, isn’t based on facts and based only on speculations and rumors.
•The action of the major number of news discussed in the material takes place in Georgia. although there is information received from abroad but, as we have noted, it’s short, of consumer character and connected with global public health issues, - such as, for example, the epidemics caused by gastrointestinal stick (so called – E coli infection).
•Some tendencies connected with the usage of sources were revealed: A journalist have not used any source at all or the source isn’t incomplete that means that the journalist isn’t using three or more sources while preparing the material that is an important requirement according to the professional standards. The generalized, collective attribution in plural number of the source is observed as well.
•We come across the material representing doctors, nurses, health experts, representatives of the Ministry of Health and health organizations, Directors of medical institutions, patients, parents and relatives of patients, lawyers, people that become the victims of violence as informational sources. But, besides this, the diversity of represented sources is still limited because either the main source isn’t indicated in the articles or any additional source that could shed light on the problem.
•The major number of the discussed material is written in news style. We face features and materials of style that is impossible to differentiate. As for the form, brief news prevail. We also find materials of informational type, question-answer and analysis.
•A journalist hasn’t used neutral language in the major number of the discussed materials. His/her attitude to the respondent or the theme and an assessment tone based on personal mood was clearly visible.
•The survey revealed that main messages that prevail in Georgian media while covering health issues are: public threat, abuse, financial machination, crime, urgent situation, unfair, scandalous, terrible and shocking information.
•Massage tone is frequently negative, materials are aimed to frighten and irritate readers.
•The total number of TV stories prepared on health issues in TV media was 211. The most attention is paid to the public heath issues by TV companies. Media actively covered the epidemic caused by gastrointestinal stick during this period and the development of phenomena following the disaster in Georgia. Another popular theme for TV-mediums turned out to be violence. Media focused on the medical errors. Only three TV stories were prepared on insurance theme from 211. The total number of advertising TV stories was eight, where were mentioned: The President of the country, First Lady, the Minister of Education, pharmaceutical companies.
The detailed report of the survey can be found in attached file