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13.05.2012 12:09

Natural Disaster and Georgian TV Channels

Maia Tsiklauri
Media Discusions
Flood in Tbilisi (photo: )

TV company Real TV turned out to be the only Georgian channel having promptly responded to the May 12 flood in Tbilisi and launch live broadcast of dramatic shots of the natural disaster. The rest of the channels including Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB), Rustavi 2, Imedi, Maestro, Kavkasia, Adjara TV and recently launched Channel 9 kept broadcasting feature films, shows, concerts or documentary footage.

Rustavi 2 was broadcasting TV series The Queen of the South, a documentary Bikini World was on Imedi TV, GPB First channel and Maestro were airing program Autopilot and Monitor Studio-produced documentary respectively.

Whatever Real TV showed was extreme natural disaster in several districts in Tbilisi which, according to recent data, killed three people. The particulars of their death are yet unclear. The flood was caused by the torrent flowing down from the slopes surrounding the city.

Having arrived on the scene Tbilisi City Mayor Gigi Ugulava told Real TV that the flood was most likely due to the damage of the collector.

“Seemingly as a result of heavy rain soil collapsed having ultimately jammed the collector,” said Ugulava.

But according to other comments posted websites rain water streaming into the Mtkvari made the river flow out of its bed.

Real TV started its urgent news outlet at 11:55 pm and for several hours was broadcasting live flooded streets and houses inTbilisi, cars and dustbins upside down and fallen trees. The evacuation of paniced population, according to the Real TV reports, was carried out by rescue teams. In some districts inflatable boats were used.

Three hours off of the extreme situation Georgian channels kept silence about the natural disaster, while Real TV continued to cover the developments in the very epicenter of events but the footage more featured the work of rescue teams rather than the affected individuals. Eventually soldiers too got involved in the rescue activities.

While Facebook users were sharing information on the disaster and kept criticizing TV channels Maestro TV head Mamuka Glonti made an apology to the viewers. 

“We would like to apologize for the delay, Maestro was not ready for the situation of the kind, which is due to our inexperience, the TV stories being now produced will be on air in a short while. Please once again accept our apologies,” said Glonti.

Maestro launched the coverage of the natural disaster at 2:30 am, Channel 9 did the same. According to Channel 9 presenter Natia Lazashvili due to technical problems Channel 9 launched live broadcast late. Within the same period Rustavi 2 too informed its viewers of the flood through subtitles. Real TV finished work in emergency mode at 3 am.







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