Freedom of the press in the South Caucasus deteriorated over the last years. While Azerbaijan’s parliament approved a new media law restricting the operation of foreign media and controlling journalists’ accreditation, the Armenian government has been criticized for questionable methods to tackle widespread disinformation and political influence over the media. Georgian independent media and oppositional journalists are confronted with state interference, advertising pressures, and street violence. The violent attacks that erupted against journalists during the planned LGBTQI+ parade in Tbilisi in July 2021 exemplify the precarious safety situation of independent media and an aggressive attitude to journalists on the part of right-wing groups. While the police failed to protect journalists during the events unfolding on 5th of July, the Georgian government continuously pressures independent media outlets and tries to discredit critically-minded journalists.
Against the backdrop of shrinking spaces of free journalism, the project supports Netgazeti, a prominent media outlet that consistently covers political and societal developments in the South Caucasus, while maintaining high journalistic standards. Netgazeti stands out for its unbiased, well-balanced reporting during the Karabakh War of 2020 and its articles about everyday news in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Heinrich Boell Foundation supports the media outlet to publish reports, in-depth interviews, analytical articles and multimedia materials. Among others, upcoming publications will pay special attention to political refugees from Azerbaijan and IDPs from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The articles will be published in Georgian as well as in the Russian language to reach a Georgian-speaking audience as well as those who are living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.