Georgia's ranking in an annual survey of global press freedom by Freedom House has improved for third consecutive year, but the country still remains in the category of “partly free.”
The survey, which covers 2011 and assesses press freedom in 197 countries and territories, ranks Georgia 111th, sharing position with Bangladesh, Kenya and Mauritania, with rating of 52. Georgia's ranking in previous similar survey, covering 2010, was 111th with rating of 55.
Each of the 197 countries and territories examined in the survey are assigned a rating between 0 and 100 with countries scoring from 0 to 30 are given status of having "Free" media; from 31 to 60 - "Partly Free" and 61 to 100 - "Not Free".
“The only significant numerical improvement in the region [Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia] occurred in Partly Free Georgia, which moved from 55 to 52 points,” the Press Freedom in 2011 reads.
“The change reflected the establishment of a number of new publications, the issuing of a broadcast license to a media group that is critical of the government, and the enforcement of new requirements on transparency of ownership,” the report reads.
The Georgian National Communications Commission resumed last year issuing broadcast licenses. One such license, authorizing TV broadcasting through cable networks and satellite was obtained by a firm, which eventually was bought by a billionaire opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili’s wife. Ivanishvili’s TV station, Channel 9, launched broadcasting on April 30.
Of 12 former non-Baltic former Soviet states Georgia has the best score in the Press Freedom in 2011; apart of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova are also ranked “Partly Free” among the non-Baltic former Soviet states; others have been assigned to “Not Free” category.