UNDP in Georgia supports capacity building of the Election Administration of Georgia and other Election Stakeholders through the BRIDGE programme.
After Election Administration and Observers, Media has been targeted in order to increase the capacity of media representatives working on electoral issues and promote their electoral knowledge as well as election reporting.
Therefore 4-days Media BRIDGE workshop was held for 21 Media representatives (one person from each television, radio, news agency, newspaper, internet TV and magazine) and 2 representatives from the CEC PR Department during 28-31 May, 2011.
The workshop was hosted by UNDP/Georgia project “Developing Capacities for Democratic Institutions for Fair Electoral Processes and Active Civil Participation” funded by the Government of Georgia through the CEC.
The workshop was facilitated by Natia Kashakashvili, Giorgi Sharabidze and Tamar Zhvania at Sheraton Batumi Hotel (Batumi, Georgia). I am very honored to mention that Tamar Zhvania, who has attended her first TtF and got the semi-accreditation in June 2009, completed the accreditation process through delivering 3 workshops during November 2010-January 2011 (mentored by the Accrediting facilitator) and participating in preparation and delivery of the Media BRIDGE workshop, and has been accredited as the BRIDGE Workshop Facilitator. My sincere congratulations to Tamar, she is the precious asset to the BRIDGE family not only as the facilitator but as being the project manager of the UNDP Elections Project, she promotes the extensive usage of BRIDGE as the major capacity building tool in Georgia.
The workshop content was assembled in order to raise the awareness of the participants on Electoral Systems, Election Administration Types, Voter Registration and Electoral Dispute Resolution and to specify the role of the Media in the elections, identify the major expectations and aspects of Media and EMB relations and Codes of Conduct, as well as the issues related to regulating Media.
The workshop content for the targeted audience proved to be perfectly selected as the participants through the verbal and written evaluations continuously noted the lack and need of such information not only during the elections period but especially during the current period when Georgian political parties are convening on regular basis to discuss the changes to the electoral framework.
All the participants left with the feeling to “want to know more”, but at the same time they were amazed how the BRIDGE methodology made them to absorb such a vast volume of material.
The chairman of the Central Election Commission also attended the last 2 days of the workshop; he, in his address to the participants, mentioned the importance of the informed media for the success of the electoral processes, as well thanked UNDP for making it happen to cover almost all the electoral stakeholders by delivering the BRIDGE workshops.
Conducting more series of BRIDGE workshops for Media representatives is highly recommended in order to include all the aspects of the elections that the Media has to cover/report. Media representatives noted in their evaluations Political Party representatives’ lack of knowledge on electoral issues and recommended holding the BRIDGE workshops for the Political Party targeted audience.