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03.02.2010 21:05

Journalist Changes Profession

David Mchedlidze
Media Discusions

Why do journalists change their profession? Why do they transfer to the state service and why do they get back?! What trends media pundits are talking about? What are the reasons and what is the way out from the viewpoint? Media.ge talked to everyone having ever been directly or indirectly related to the issue.

Nino Mshvidobadze, former journalist for the Guria-based newspaper Guria News had been into active journalism for 12 years but few months ago she changed her profession having started work for the local municipality press center. The former journalist complains about her former colleagues' objectivity and cites financial issues as the reason for her decision on the change.

"I have discovered myself being all alone, nobody needs the truth. I have unfortunately found many of my colleagues being allied with the opposition, authorities, NGOs, etc. They officially receive salaries from the budget but consider themselves as independent journalists. In addition to all aforementioned financial problems popped up as well," Nino Mshvidobadze reported.

Unlike her Ia Mamaladze, the Guria News founder and editor-in-chief gives three reasons for such a decision by journalists.

"The initial reason is the lack of professionalism. The second is low salaries and the third reason is related to the will of finding peace and haven," Mamaladze said.

In Nino Mshvidobadze's case Ms Ia rule first two reasons out and considers that she quit "fighting with the view of curing the society."

Media pundit Ia Antadze considers the transfer of journalists into the authorities as "a trend of Rose revolution." According to her the new authorities employed one part of journalists at their press centers. Unfortunately, Ia Antadze said, the journalists being employed at the state agencies turn into the main actors of blocking the information.

"Regional media suffers hardship. I don't think journalists have got any ideological reasons when transferring to press centers, it's mainly related to economic aspect against which they are helpless," Ia Antadze reported.

Maya Kalibegashvili, editor of the Spectrum newspaper is the journalist having moved from journalism into the state service, in particular PR department at the Kakheti regional administration and afterwards having returned back to journalism. According to Kalibegashvili her decision was initiated by curiosity to find out why press services couldn't work and why the information was being blocked for acting journalists but she faced the following reality.

"Communication with the journalists being recognized as favorites still continued, they were summoned in the evenings in my absence and provided exclusive interviews," Kalibegashvili said.

According to the media expert Zviad Koridze in case of getting back from politics into journalism the journalists, in addition to the missing independence are accompanied with particular commitments.

"It's very easy to go from media into public service but getting back is generally very hard. State service doesn't let its employees go so easily. When you make a choice in favor of the public service you automatically quit journalism and cannot get back," Koridze added.

Shorena Shaverdashvili, the Liberal magazine editor of the GPB Board of Trustees has distinguished two reasons:

"First one is the gradual decrease of the level of independence and editorial independence in the national broadcasters. It is more evident in the televisions. The second reason is the inability of print media to compete, in terms of salaries, with either televisions or press centers," Shaverdashvili clarified.

The journalists working for regional media outlets have shown far more radical stance.

Natia Rokva, correspondent for the Batumi-based newspaper Batumelebi cited her Editor Eter Turadze stating that "professional journalists never quit journalism."

Evaluating her former colleagues having joined the authorities Nino Kapanadze, journalist for the newspaper Chemi Kharagauli is more uncompromising. She would never agree with her colleagues even if they had conflicts with publishers, were unable to resist pressure by the authorities or were motivated by financial issues.

Nino Jangirashvili, head of the information service, Kavkasia TV considers that the facts of a kind are clear evidence of journalists' integration with the authorities.

"It's a kind of trend and it indicates the journalists are so much integrated with the authorities and governmental circles that they, as the team members, are transferred to and fro," Jangirashvili said.

Georgian journalism evidently faces the problem of turning journalists into officials-politicians. It's a fact the journalist's profession is considered as a kind of official spring-board and a guarantee for a better future.

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