Thin Red Line

Is Georgia's Civil Society Capable of Fighting State-Sponsored Disinformation?

14 January 2020

Civil society organisations in Georgia have found themselves to be the last line of defence against Russian and pro-government disinformation. What tools do they have at their disposal?

Recent developments in Georgia have brought the country closer to some other countries of Eastern Europe and the former USSR which are referred to as illiberal or hybrid democracies.

Bidzina Ivanishvili

Georgia’s richest oligarch, Bidzina Ivanishvili, remains at the top of the state and places his loyalists in key government positions. He undertakes pervasive attempts to control the independent media and the judiciary, moves which certainly sound familiar to anyone following Eastern European and post-Soviet politics of the last decades.

Another attribute that Georgia shares with deteriorating democracies, is the fact that its public sphere is increasingly flooded with propaganda and disinformation. Growing illiberalism of Georgian domestic politics has given a long-awaited opportunity to omnipresent Russian propaganda and disinformation efforts. Addressing and countering these aggressive influence campaigns, whether they are external or not, has, therefore, become a task for the whole society.

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Zaza Shengelia

Researcher at the Economic Policy Research Center, focusing on international relations and disinformation. He is also managing a publishing program at the Fukuyama Democracy Frontline Center, based in Tbilisi.

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