Media Development Fund: in 2020, number of anti-Western messages in Georgian media doubled
Compared to the previous year, in 2020 the number of anti-American and anti-Western messages in the Georgian media doubled. At the same time, the number of statements in support of Russia as an uncontested force increased.
This is the conclusion reached by the non-governmental organization Media Development Fund, which has been researching the spread of anti-Western propaganda in Georgia for six years.
The Anti-Western Propaganda 2020 report was released on September 22nd. The document is based on an analysis of traditional and online media, as well as data obtained as a result of identifying sources of dissemination of false information.
Over the past year, the organization’s observers have monitored the media, as well as other sources, including politicians, clergy, non-governmental organizations, and individual members of the public.
The report analyzes anti-Western posts in traditional media and social media in the period between January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
The study was conducted in partnership with the United Nations Association of Georgia (UNAG) under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Tolerance, Civic Awareness, and Integration Program.
The number of anti-American messages has skyrocketed
The report shows that the number of anti-Western messages has tripled in the past five years. The number of anti-American messages is growing the most.
According to the report, the upward trend is partly due to ongoing internal processes in the United States and the defeat of Donald Trump in the presidential election. On top of that, in the context of the current elections in Georgia – a discrediting campaign was initiated by the pro-Kremlin Alliance of Patriots party against American research organizations (NDI-IRI).
As for internal processes in the United States, three new messages emerged in 2020:
- America is divided / elections were rigged / America has no moral right to police others;
- There is systemic racism in America;
- America is corrupt.
The campaign against American research organizations, which was mainly directed against the National Democratic Institute, included the following messages:
- NDI-IRI studies are unreliable;
- NDI-IRI is fighting against the Georgian church.
The report says that among the old messages last year, the prevailing opinion was that the United States was violating Georgia’s sovereignty and interfering in its internal affairs.
The West interferes with the internal affairs of the country
The report says that the number of propaganda messages against the West, which brings together the European Union, the United States, and international Western organizations, has doubled.
These messages reinforce the view that Georgia’s partners are encroaching on the country’s sovereignty, interfering in its internal affairs, and running the country.
- West wants global control / new world order;
- The liberal world order is failing;
- West seeks to rewrite history / is collaborated with Hitler;
- The West does not agree over / could not cope with the pandemic.
The West adheres to a depraved lifestyle
The report says that fears of Western imposition of homosexuality, pedophilia, and depraved lifestyles continued to dominate the discourse of identity loss.
At the same time, the opinion was imposed that Biden’s victory in the US elections would further activate the LGBT agenda.
The narrative that Western values are incompatible with Georgian identity is accompanied by reports that the West is fighting against religion and the Orthodox Church, as well as traditional identity and family.
Russia is the alternative
In 2020, the number of messages evoking nostalgia for the Soviet Union increased. In these messages, special attention is paid to the USSR as an example of welfare and a state with social protection.
Two new messages about Russia that appeared in 2020, on the one hand, are related to the internal electoral process in Georgia, on the other hand, with the containment of the “threat” from Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as the role of Russia in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict :
- The accusations of Russian interference in the elections in Georgia are groundless;
- Only Russia can contain Turkey / resolve conflicts in the Caucasus.
From the old messages in the past year, there were also messages that:
“Only Russia, with its messianic mission, will help defend against homosexuality, protect the Orthodox Church, and preserve its traditional identity”.
NATO has no purpose
In contrast to the United States, the number of comments against NATO has decreased by half, which is due to the lack of integration initiatives on the part of NATO during this period.
Two new narratives have emerged regarding NATO:
- NATO was left without function due to the coronavirus pandemic / NATO = threat of infection;
- Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is changing NATO’s security agenda
EU did not help partner countries fight Covid-19
The new EU message has also been linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, there was a perception that the pandemic threatened the unity of the EU because the EU was unable to show solidarity with the member states and was unable to help them.
Attacks on non-governmental sector
The attitude towards the American philanthropist and founder of the Open Society Foundations George Soros, as well as towards non-governmental organizations in the anti-Western media, has not changed.
“Non-governmental organizations were portrayed as carrying out foreign orders, fighting against traditional identities, and calls were made to restrict and control foreign-funded NGOs”, the report said.
Sources of anti-Western messages
The media, politicians, members of the public, non-governmental organizations and the clergy, judging by the number of messages circulated, are the main sources of anti-Western messages.
Among the media, five stand out: the Internet editions “Georgia and the World”, “Sakinform”, TV “Objektivi”, newspapers “Asaval-Dasavali” and “Aliya”.
Among the parties, the leader is the Alliance of Patriots. The list also includes the ruling Georgian Dream party as well as pro-Russian “Georgian March”, “Neutral Socialist Georgia”, “Georgian Idea” and “Kartuli Dasi”.
The report says that ten organizations actively disseminated anti-Western messages in the past year.
Among them the leader is the Eurasian Institute on the pages of the publication “Georgia and the World”; it is followed by the Georgia Development Laboratory, the Primakov Georgian-Russian Public Center, Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights, the Union of Human Rights Defenders, and others.
According to the report, Giorgi Razmadze, the rector of the Church of the Holy Great Martyr Ketevan in Avchal, distinguished himself among the priests, who published anti-Western messages, mainly on Georgia and the World platform.
“Last year, Metropolitan Anton of Van and Baghdat also became more active in this regard”, the study says.