Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Caucasus: Dec '10/Jan '11

Training session aims to raise journalists’ awareness of vulnerability of natural disaster victims.
By IWPR
  • Seminar participants watching footage from natural disaster zones. (Photo: Mirian Koridze/IWPR)
    Seminar participants watching footage from natural disaster zones. (Photo: Mirian Koridze/IWPR)
  • Trainer Rezo Getiashvili talking about state policy towards so-called eco-migrants. (Photo: Mirian Koridze/IWPR)
    Trainer Rezo Getiashvili talking about state policy towards so-called eco-migrants. (Photo: Mirian Koridze/IWPR)

The IWPR Georgia office in December organised a training seminar for regional television journalists on the problems of people displaced or otherwise affected by natural disasters.

The theme of the training session was the problems of so-called eco-migrants and other victims of natural disasters as well as the state’s policy on the subject. The event was organised jointly by IWPR, the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters, GARB, and the Caucasian Environmental NGO Network, CENN.

The existing law and refugees and internally displaced persons confines itself to people displaced as a result of armed conflicts. Victims of natural disasters are not covered by the legislation.

The training session aimed to raise the journalists’ awareness of the legislative vacuum and improve their capacity and understating of this complex issue.

The participants, representing 16 regional TV companies, received hands-on training from an expert on eco-migrants and the problems they face, and were given in-depth information on how every region in the country is affected by this problem.

As part of the training process, they produced nine features, which were aired on the TV programme Mravalkutkhedi (polygon). The broadcast has prompted discussions among parliamentarians and officials at the ministry of accommodation of refugees and internally displaced persons.

Revaz Getiashvili, project coordinator of the Open Civil Initiative for Environmental Protection, said the training session performed an important role.

“Georgian media outlets should pay more attention to eco-migrants as well as the victims of natural disasters, as the scale of the problem is alarming and the situation might become even worse in future,” he said.

Nino Chanturaya, from the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters, said the participating journalists will now be better equipped to cover the problems facing eco-migrants and victims of natural disasters.

“The knowledge and the detailed information received at this training will be very useful for journalists in preparing reports on this issue. I am looking forward for future cooperation with IWPR,” he said.

The journalists themselves said the training session had made them more aware of the plight of people affected by natural disasters.

Nona Samkharadze, from Marneuli TV, said, “I have worked on the issues of eco-migrants before. In our region, there are overcrowded settlements where people have to endure harsh conditions. I am very sorry that I had no chance to participate in this sort of training session earlier - my reports would have been more impactful.”

Rusudan Gvaramadze, from Channel 9, said, “I did not know much about this problem before. We received a lot of interesting and useful information; statistical data on damage caused by disasters and details of the funds spent by the government to address the problem.”
 

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