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10.10.2011 07:25

Indecent Proposal

David Mchedlidze
Media Discusions

Indecent Proposal is the title of a drama film made in Hollywood in 1993 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indecent_Proposal) whose main character has got to accept  a billionaire’s proposal and take one million dollar in return for letting him spend one night with his wife.

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s offer is offensive as well:

 “I will purchase any Georgian television, which holds a news programming license. To motivate the owner (if there is any but Saakashvili) to sell, I offer the following:

 1. I will pay the price three-fold more than its market price. The market price should be evaluated by one of the five audit companies recommended by the World Bank.

 2. Maximum two years later off of buying the television station, I will return it to its previous owner at a symbolic price of GEL 1.”

 Bidzina Ivanishvili too, just like the movie character (antagonist) is sure that “everything is available for sale” and especially Georgian media organizations the business tycoon is not thinking highly of anyway. The statement released on October 7 reads as follows: “All the television stations, including Maestro and Kavkasia TV are controlled by Saakashvili. These television stations represent special purpose pseudo-opposition media sources.”

 Some years ago Bidzina Ivanishvili himself owned a television which held the license to broadcast news, but no public clarification has ever been made on how the billionaire gave in his costly property. In 2009 the Georgian magazine Hot Chocolate published the investigation conducted by Monitor Studio (http://shokoladi.ge/content/54-nabijit-ukan) having informed the society the TV company Ninth Channel closed down on April 1, 2004: “The TV company only real owner was Bidzina Ivanishvili. In 2005 the whole lot of equipments was taken from Ninth Wave to Rustavi 2. The television has been off for four years now but the company has not been deprived of the license by the regulatory commission.  In response to our question the commission said no penalty has bee applied in regard to TV company Ninth Wave. Currently the 100 percent owner of the company is Irakli Chikovani, the founder of Magi Style and Director General of the Rustavi 2 broadcasting company.

 It’s evident Bidzina Ivanishvili needs television (as a tool) to win the elections (when having no political goals he easily gave it up). Moreover, along with trying to obtain a powerful weapon he is also trying to disarm the opponents. Ivanishvili is openly addressing journalists including the ones employed pro-governmental media organizations:

 “From now on, I offer all journalists, who will be dismissed for their jobs because of their impartiality and adherence to principles, a job in the headquarters of the future political party with a salary not less than that they have now. At the same time, they will enjoy an advantage while staffing future information center.”

 National media never distinguished itself with professional standards and commitment to principles. A solid part of journalists always found it hard to overcome the gravitation provoked by money and power. There are evidently committed journalists too but we can say the professional assembly of TV journalists is divided into two conditional groups: the first one includes the journalist having been once sold and the second group embraces the ones being repeatedly sold!

 No need to mention that TV media in Georgia is a powerful tool for political struggle! The years of 2003 and 2007 can be cited as good example, firstly through Rustavi 2 United National Movement managed to overcome “Shevardnadze’s swamp” and then Badri Patarkatsishvili, through Imedi TV deployed at the leading positions of the political battle, was about the change the authorities.

 The function and the role of TV media has been further distorted in the wake of Georgian-Russian war 2008. The news programs have been satiated with unbalanced, propaganda material. Either a fact, or a comment, important or secondary news – everything has been mixed up. Pro-governmental televisions have turned into handmade blacksmith’s of news. The promo slogan of one of the TV companies “News are being made here” can be considered as reflection of the circumstances.

 Multi-century efforts of the peoples are no longer needed to create myths in the information age – modern myths are being delivered through the TV conveyors run by politicians at top speed.

 “We have been defeated in the battle but nothing has been lost, the war is being on” – the most prominent myth made up with the help of televisions. The same myth says the government’s battle against the Russia-led opposition is a kind of continuation of the war. Accordingly the government’s victory won by TV media over the opposition is being sold as victory over Russia, failure of Russia’s plans, while the defeat of the governing power would be taken as a victory by sworn enemy such as Russia and the disappearance of Georgia from the world political map. This is not, of course, the only myth made up by media, all the more the myths are not created for the authorities only.

 How does the myth by Bidzina Ivanishvili sound?

 The name of this myth is Chorvila – the village-heaven sinking in welfare and prosperity. The village dwellers, thanks to Bidzina Ivanishvili, have financial problems settled. According to the myth Georgia is going to be made into a big Chorvela whose every single dweller will be enjoying cheap gas, electricity, affordable healthcare, efficient pensions or any other type of monetary aid, and in the hands of a fair governor, the country will be living in pastoral idyll.

 The myth has been created by Bidzina Ivanishvili, without the help of televisions, through his large-scale charity. Rather interesting what he is going to offer the society in case he takes factual ownership over any of the televisions. But ahead of creating the myth the Georgian multi-billionaire will try to impersonate at least via TV air and show himself to the electorate. A spiritual session in the digital age cannot be considered as the most efficient way of public relation.

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