May 12, 2020

Georgia on my mind

There is a taste of place that you cannot replace. But we try, we try! We are at home and cannot travel, but we miss, we miss! Friends and open roads and hot foreign skies, the whispering of cathedral canopies in forests, murmuring sea shores, a rough wooden tables laden with dishes and label-less bottles of wine, all empty. 

March 8, 2013

Falklands referendum results, UK-Russia talks, and a new Chinese President make for busy week ahead

By Jasper Wenban-Smith, international editor of ForesightNews. A round up of world news in the week ahead from journalist resource ForesightNews. Monday 11 March On Monday, a two-day referendum on the political status of the Falklands Islands wraps-up, with the results due that evening. The referendum is largely symbolic, since the islanders overwhelmingly favour retaining […]

September 25, 2011

ForesightNews world briefing: upcoming events 3 – 9 October

A weekly round up of world events from Monday, 3 October to Sunday, 9 October from ForesightNews By Nicole Hunt Though it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of which Silvio Berlusconi trial is currently in court, Monday sees the resumption of the most infamous of his four cases, in which he faces charges for abuse […]

October 6, 2010

Frontline Club opens in Tbilisi, Georgia

Surprising but welcome news spread on Facebook today. The Frontline Club is apparently opening up at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) in Tbilisi, Georgia. In what appears to be an evolution of their own club, the new initiative promises to follow the remit of the Frontline Club in London. Media club that aims to […]

September 1, 2010

The Gun Always Shines on TV

The US webmag Gawker recently published a video survey of Army recruitment videos from around the world. The most entertaining was this ad for the Ukrainian Army, which basically promises young men that they will score with the girls if they drive a big tank and fondle their gun barrel suggestively enough (although the clip itself looks […]

August 1, 2010

Global Voices launches Caucasus Conflict Voices

Since working on my own project using new and social media to counter local media bias in terms of reporting on Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and the still unresolved conflict between the two estranged neighbours over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, it’s been quite a roller coaster of a ride. If in late 2008 it seemed […]

May 30, 2010

Mobile phones: Reporting in your pocket

    Last year arguably saw unprecedented attention on the use of mobile phones for content creation in some shape or form. Whether SMS updating crisis mapping platforms such as Ushahidi, using Twitter to update followers on breaking news, or simply to use as video cameras, in a sense there was plenty to demonstrate their […]

April 17, 2010

Social media for social change comes to the Caucasus

    Tbilisi, Georgia, and a conference on using social media for social change. Nothing new in that for many people reading this blog, perhaps, but low Internet penetration thanks to high costs and slow connections makes the situation somewhat different in the South Caucasus. A 4 mb/s connection in Georgia, for example, costs around […]

April 13, 2010

Georgia Mourns ‘Hero’ Kaczynski

Lech Kaczynski may have been a controversial figure in his native Poland, but here in Georgia, he was seen as a great and principled leader, and many people are genuinely upset by his death in a plane crash on April 10. That’s because of Kaczynski’s robust support for this country during and after the war […]

March 15, 2010

War reporting fail

A Georgian TV channel caused panic at the weekend after a mock up news report suggested Russian troops had invaded the country and President Saakashvili had been killed. Many viewers had missed a warning that went out before the broadcast. The video below is Russia Today’s report on the biggest (non)-story so far this year: 

February 20, 2010

No Borders Here – communication between Armenia and Azerbaijan

With the conflict in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh still unresolved, journalists and civil society activists in Armenia have few opportunities to meet with their Azeri counterparts, and vice versa. But increasingly, blogs and social networks offer new possibilities for dialogue across a cease-fire line in place since 1994. Other online tools offer immediate audio […]

January 4, 2010

Peaceful coexistence in the South Caucasus

With few expecting a breakthrough in negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the long-standing conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, if the likelihood of ethnic Armenians and Azeris ever being able to live together in peace again seemed remote, you’d be wrong. A recent working visit to Georgia, the third of the […]

December 14, 2009

Reporting cultural diversity in the South Caucasus

  Despite all the obstacles frustrating recent developments in the South Caucasus, and specifically a new push to resolve the frozen conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh as well as to normalize ties between Armenia and Turkey, this year has been one of the most liberating yet. For the […]

September 30, 2009

An unexpected visit to an Azeri village wedding

It was a dream come true. Despite knowing each other for several months online, the chances of meeting regional analyst and superstar blogger Arzu Geybullayeva seemed remote at best and unlikely at worst. As Arzu is based in Istanbul, Turkey, and Baku, Azerbaijan, it’s not easy for someone based in Armenia with an Armenian  surname […]

August 30, 2009

Summer and something of a seaside independence

Earlier in August I had the opportunity to film in Abkhazia with Matthew Collin –  Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Georgia and fellow Frontline blogger. It’s now one year since Russia recognised Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. The first time I visited Abkhazia was in December 2006 to produce radio […]

July 1, 2009

Truth: The first casualty of the Russo-Georgia War

Today, I’ve been multi-tasking: spending some time spying (with permission, I should add) on the BBC’s news operation, keeping one eye on the tennis, and reading a very interesting paper on the media and the Russian invasion of Georgia. I can’t really talk too much about the former (yet) and I don’t suppose many of […]

June 15, 2009

Temperature Rises, Anger Boils Over

There have been worrying signs in recent days that anti-government protests in Tbilisi – now in their third consecutive month – have the potential to descend into civil unrest. Protesters have been blocking several streets in the Georgian capital around the clock with imitation prison cells, which are intended to highlight the alleged authoritarianism of […]

May 29, 2009

Georgia Wins Fashion Battle

Benetton clothing shops in Georgia have been closed for several days in protest against Benetton Turkey’s announcement that it was planning to open a store in Sukhumi, the capital of the disputed region of Abkhazia. "Protest Against Opening of Benetton Shop in Sukhumi" read signs hung in the shops’ windows in Tbilisi this week. The […]

May 19, 2009

‘Black Hole’ in South Ossetia?

After the war with Georgia last year, Russia recognised the tiny, impoverished rural region of South Ossetia as an independent state. Moscow has now deployed border guards to police the frontlines and is in the process of establishing military bases there to defend against what it describes as potential Georgian "aggression" in the future. Russia […]

May 11, 2009

Everyday Chaos in Tbilisi

    Last week was another remarkable few days of chaos, intrigue and unresolved mystery in Georgia. An alleged uprising at a military base the day before prestigious NATO exercises were due to begin; arrests of alleged coup plotters; late-night clashes between protesters and policemen at police headquarters; the continued opposition blockade of several main […]

April 21, 2009

‘Cabbage Revolution’ Wilts

Under stony skies, a dirge-like ballad droned from the speakers outside the Georgian parliament: an appropriate soundtrack for the seventh day of opposition protests in Tbilisi. A series of opposition leaders was greeted by polite applause as they raged against Mikheil Saakashvili, the president who has refused to offer them his head on a pike. […]

April 16, 2009

‘Cabbage Revolution’ Wilts

Under stony skies, a dirge-like ballad droned from the speakers outside the Georgian parliament: an appropriate soundtrack for the seventh day of opposition protests in Tbilisi. A series of opposition leaders was greeted by polite applause as they raged against Mikheil Saakashvili, the president who has refused to offer them his head on a pike. […]

April 14, 2009

Citizen media and the Tbilisi protests

We’ve heard a lot about the use of social networking sites and services such as Twitter and Facebook by political activists in the past week, but opposition protests in Georgia have also shown that they are valuable tools in the hands of student and professional journalists alike. As an editor for Global Voices Online, a site which […]

March 9, 2009

Reuters honours conflict photographers

Reuters has announced the winners of its own internal journalism awards for 2008. Notable among the winners were Goran Tomasevic’s image of a US soldier in action against the Taleban in Afghanistan, named as Photograph of the Year. Belgrade-born Tomasevic began working for Reuters during the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s the agency says. Ukrainian […]

September 2, 2008

Russo-Georgia Conflict: a collection of links

I’ve been taking a break from blogging recently but I’m hoping to get going again now September is here and those not-so-balmy August days are behind us. If you’ve been following the conflict and ongoing confrontation between Russia and Georgia, you might be interested in my delicious links on the topic. (Delicious is a social […]

August 20, 2008

Blogs ‘fail’ in coverage of Russo-Georgia War

Joshua Foust argues that blogs have not lived up to expectations in covering the Russo-Georgia War. He homes in on what he describes as ‘large blogs’- the Small War Journal, Instapundit, the Washington Monthly etc. He’s disappointed that they seem to have relied on the same set of sources as the mainstream media: Soon after […]

August 13, 2008

Russo-Georgia War: cyber-propaganda

“In its war with Georgia, the first truly global user-generated conflict, Russia’s digital guerillas have been drafted into a state-waged propaganda war” The opening paragraph of an excellent article by Evgeny Morozov on Open Democracy. He argues that the Web’s democratic potential has been undermined by the agendas of nation-states and maintains that ‘digital guerillas’ […]

August 13, 2008

‘At no time should you endanger yourself’: BBC’s ‘citizen journalism’ disclaimer and war zones

The BBC’s standard plea for information on this article about the crisis in Georgia is bothering me. On the BBC website, we learn that ‘violence has flared [in Gori]’, ‘there are reports of cars being taken from residents at gunpoint’, and ‘there is looting going on involving South Ossetian separatists’. Similarly, The Guardian’s latest article […]

August 12, 2008

Cyberwar, blogging and other Russo-Georgia War links

I’ve just got back from an all too brief holiday and this morning I’ve been collecting some stuff on the conflict between Russian and Georgian forces in South Ossetia and beyond. 1. While most of the attention has rightly been on the physical war that has been costing Russian and Georgian lives, Wired has nevertheless […]