• Nino Gozalishvili is a PhD candidate at Central European University (CEU) in Vienna pursuing Nationalism Studies and Comparative History joint doctoral program. Her research areas include post-Socialist political transformations and the processes of Europeanization and democratization in Central and Eastern Europe; contemporary history of nationalism and national-populism in CEE with sub-regional focus on South-Caucasus.Nino holds an MA degree in Nationalism Studies from CEU and BA in International Relations from Tbilisi State University (TSU). She was also a visiting student at the University of Warsaw and at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder).Nino now serves as a teaching assistant at CEU and is an accepted research fellow at Center for Eastern European Studies(CEES), University of Zurich. Her undercurrent research project deals with the internationalization of right-wing populist discourses in Europe and evolvement of national-populism in post-Communist Georgia. In addition, She has been affiliated with the NGOs focused on tackling disinformation and extremism as well as with research centres in Hungary, Georgia and Poland.

23/02/2021 Nino Gozalishvili

The Contested Triangle of Disinformation, Democratization and Populism in Georgia

Author

  • Nino Gozalishvili is a PhD candidate at Central European University (CEU) in Vienna pursuing Nationalism Studies and Comparative History joint doctoral program. Her research areas include post-Socialist political transformations and the processes of Europeanization and democratization in Central and Eastern Europe; contemporary history of nationalism and national-populism in CEE with sub-regional focus on South-Caucasus.Nino holds an MA degree in Nationalism Studies from CEU and BA in International Relations from Tbilisi State University (TSU). She was also a visiting student at the University of Warsaw and at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder).Nino now serves as a teaching assistant at CEU and is an accepted research fellow at Center for Eastern European Studies(CEES), University of Zurich. Her undercurrent research project deals with the internationalization of right-wing populist discourses in Europe and evolvement of national-populism in post-Communist Georgia. In addition, She has been affiliated with the NGOs focused on tackling disinformation and extremism as well as with research centres in Hungary, Georgia and Poland.


Publish Date:
23-02-2021

Freedom of expression is one of the essential pillars of democracy as we know it. Thus, normatively, democracies should not only pursue this value but also guarantee it to every citizen. However, free speech does not embrace just one definition:  different actors take the stage to interpret it in different ways.  In this milieu, “giving people a voice” has lately been seized by populist actors, an emergence of which has been observed in Georgia, as well. Hence, civil society and the Georgian government must deal with the rising populist discourse and an escalation in the horizontal modes of disinformation spread on social media, all of which have come at a time when the country is in the throes of transition to a more democratic political regime. Thus, they face the challenges not only of balancing the alternative discourses of the post-truth era, but, in doing so, also of maintaining democratic legitimacy.

This memo places the broader issues – such as the new trends in disinformation strategies, the easy access of populist actors to social media and the inconsistences of the media platforms in their action to safeguard the information environment – in the context of democratization processes in Georgia. In doing so, the paper attempts at discussing the vulnerabilities of Georgian democracy at the juncture of these matters. The challenge is particularly visible against the background of the ongoing pandemic as it was so in the pre-election period in Georgia. The contested understandings of the concepts such as “free speech” and “freedom of expression” will perhaps remain as one of the sources of enduring social polarization in the country.

Author

  • Nino Gozalishvili is a PhD candidate at Central European University (CEU) in Vienna pursuing Nationalism Studies and Comparative History joint doctoral program. Her research areas include post-Socialist political transformations and the processes of Europeanization and democratization in Central and Eastern Europe; contemporary history of nationalism and national-populism in CEE with sub-regional focus on South-Caucasus.Nino holds an MA degree in Nationalism Studies from CEU and BA in International Relations from Tbilisi State University (TSU). She was also a visiting student at the University of Warsaw and at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder).Nino now serves as a teaching assistant at CEU and is an accepted research fellow at Center for Eastern European Studies(CEES), University of Zurich. Her undercurrent research project deals with the internationalization of right-wing populist discourses in Europe and evolvement of national-populism in post-Communist Georgia. In addition, She has been affiliated with the NGOs focused on tackling disinformation and extremism as well as with research centres in Hungary, Georgia and Poland.

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Nino Gozalishvili

Nino Gozalishvili is a PhD candidate at Central European University (CEU) in Vienna pursuing Nationalism Studies and Comparative History joint doctoral program. Her research areas include post-Socialist political transformations and the processes of Europeanization and democratization in Central and Eastern Europe; contemporary history of nationalism and national-populism in CEE with sub-regional focus on South-Caucasus.Nino holds an MA degree in Nationalism Studies from CEU and BA in International Relations from Tbilisi State University (TSU). She was also a visiting student at the University of Warsaw and at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder).Nino now serves as a teaching assistant at CEU and is an accepted research fellow at Center for Eastern European Studies(CEES), University of Zurich. Her undercurrent research project deals with the internationalization of right-wing populist discourses in Europe and evolvement of national-populism in post-Communist Georgia. In addition, She has been affiliated with the NGOs focused on tackling disinformation and extremism as well as with research centres in Hungary, Georgia and Poland.