5 hours of Russian propaganda in Georgia every day - Alt-Info's shows in Kvemo Kartli
Alt-Info shows on Kvemo Kartli’s TV-4 channel
Kvemo Kartli’s TV-4, which won a tender for hundreds of thousands of lari from the local budgets of the region, began broadcasting the pro-Russian, propaganda, created by the anti-Western Alt-Info channel.
Alt-Info broadcasts are given about five hours of the channel’s air time. The channel broadcasts Alt-Info’s information programs and its “Comment of the day” program.
TV-4 broadcasts in Georgian and Azerbaijani in Kvemo Kartli, a region densely populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis. It is one of the most popular local media in the region.
Alt-Info began broadcasting there on May 17th. The decision was made due to financial problems – Alt-Info pays for the airtime of Kvemo Kartli television, said TV-4 director Gigi Mgaloblishvili. He did not name the exact amount.
“Alt-Info is already connected to all networks, and it is broadcast everywhere for free. That is why we believe that we do nothing exceptional. If the channel is campaigning against the country, then the communications commission should take action”, Mgaloblishvili told JAMnews.
If we take into account that the TV 4 team prepares only one ten-minute news program per day, which goes on the air at 20:30, then it turns out that most of the news time is given to the Alt-Info channel.
What do we know about Alt-Info
A group called Alt-Info appeared in Georgia during the 2018 presidential elections. It originally used social media to spread its beliefs, but was licensed on November 26, 2020, and went on air in 2021.
Alt-Info has a pro-Russian narrative. Now the main topic of news releases is Ukraine. Alt-Info covers this war in a sharply anti-Western and pro-Russian vein.
In this regard, the organization “Georgian Democratic Initiative” (GDI) filed a lawsuit against Alt-Info with the Georgian Communications Regulatory Commission. The organization claims that Alt-Info serves to cover up crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, which is prohibited by the Georgian law “On Broadcasting”.
On March 24, the commission ruled that Alt-Info was promoting war.
What do we know about TV-4?
Kvemo Kartli’s TV and radio company TV-4 has been broadcasting since 1998.
The main source of the channel’s income is the funds received from tenders of the local government of Kvemo Kartli.
According to Tender Monitor, the TV company won a total of 12 tenders worth 1,044,600 lari [about $354,000], as well as 30 simplified purchases worth 372,990 lari [about $126,000]. Its main audience is the municipalities of Rustavi and Gardabani.
According to Gigi Mgaloblishvili, TV-4’s income for 2022 reaches 110,000 lari [about $37.2 thousand] received from the municipalities of Rustavi and Gardabani.
“I won a tender in Rustavi for 60,000 lari [about $20,000] and in Gardabani for 50,000 lari [about $17,000]. In fact, we no longer have income. There were “Crystalbet”, “Crocobete” – this is an advertisement for a casino. But they actually left us, so we hung in the air”.
“TV-4 is a biased regional broadcaster”, reads a media monitoring report conducted by the Charter of Journalistic Ethics of Georgia under the United Nations Development Program:
“During the monitoring period, the activities of local governments are covered positively, we often hear stories about the activities of local governments, and there are practically no critical reports about their activities”, the report says.
What did the viewers of TV 4 watch on May 17 and 18?
Alt-Info has only been going on air of the regional television of Kvemo Kartli for two days.
JAMnews found out what the viewers of the channel were able to see and hear in this short time.
For example, in the daily news on May 18, one of the main topics was the evacuation of fighters from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.
Alt-Info calls this evacuation “surrender of the military”:
“Over the past night, 256 militants from the Azovstal fortified area in Ukraine were captured by Russia. 51 of them were wounded. According to the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin personally guaranteed the treatment of the wounded in accordance with international standards. Sieged at the plant, they were left with no other choice due to the inaction of the Ukrainian authorities”.
On May 17 at 17:00, the “Comment of the Day” program discussed the arrest of the director of “Mtavari Arkhi” Nika Gvaramia:
“Mourning in the liberal wing continues. The arrest of Nika Gvaramia is hard on members of the United National Movement party and its followers. For the second day in a row, the public is watching the political mourning that the Gvaramia fan club started yesterday. And it continues to this day”.