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Tamar Karelidze

TV9, or How We Tried to See More

11.10.2013 18:53

There are several kinds of unfairness. It’s unfair when a television financed from my pocket serves someone’s political interests, without making allowance for the interests of its main source of funding- i.e. my interests. Another instance of unfairness is when a television, once being the only means of providing objective information, tells stories about prosperous country when in reality everything is just falling apart. As well as a situation when someone comes up with a spontaneous decision of opening a television in order to create the alternative to the abovementioned televisions.

Part of the people is shocked because of the unexpectedly spread information regarding the closure of TV9. Whereas, there is no reason for that matter- it was clear from the very beginning that a channel spontaneously opened, would be closed in the same manner. We just hoped that the history wouldn’t be repeated.

According to the statement spread, the possession of a television brought inconvenience to the Prime-Minister, yet he hadn’t felt anything of the sort when already being a politician he was opening a channel during the pre-election period, nor at the time when talking at the press-conference about the future of the TV company and its employees as if they were things under his possession, which one cannot find a use for, but at the same time feels sorry to throw them away. There apparently hadn’t as well been any inconvenience when resonant events had unfolded on the Channel after the election; journalists had many questions to him, but no answer had been given.

In reality TV9 had been closed after the elections. Despite the fact of vast financing, best technical-intellectual base and even Larry King being in the membership of the Board of Advisers( the latter is indeed a phenomenon), the Channel’s showing of the infamous prison footage two months after the elections and the dismissal of the best  staff members were the only things in the period of 1,3 years with which the television made itself memorable to the audience. The case with Info 9 was different, so was its distinctive way of working (apparently serving the authors of the idea as means of saying something new in journalism), which the other party suggested the worst it could. Such circumstances entailed instances of journalists’ persecuting each other, which should be included in the learning course of journalism.

Naturally, when the channel was opening, all the journalists should have been prepared for the temporariness of its existence. Even now its very hard to tell the legends and reality regarding the salaries of TV9, its working environment and conditions, however, it’s hard for any person, parallel to losing one’s job, when the owner overtly expresses his concern as to how to get rid of you- dismiss you unceremoniously, hand you over to someone else or keep you. Another issue just as formidable is when a bunch of “experts” are crying out that the journalists will be distributed among other channels, as if there were great deal of jobs in the media sphere.

Approximately 700 hundred people have been left without job since August 19. The majority of them have the families behind. Despite that the information over the Channel’s closure was circulated continuously, the event, nonetheless, turned out unexpected. It’s a fact that Bidzina Ivanishvili closes televisions as spontaneously as he opens them. It was in 2004 when TV9 was closed just as unexpectedly.

As regards the responses, the most prominent was the one made by the President: “the more channels open in Georgia the more happy I will be. A great many televisions had been opened during my time, including the regional ones”. I, meanwhile, have been working for 3 years in the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters(GARB), which unites the regional televisions. Out of the 24 channels that exit today, TV company Gurjaani is the youngest one(since 1998), while the 25 channels named by the President were launched in 1993.

According to the statement of the Prime-Minister, TV9 will wait for the new owner until September 1. It was his goodwill( the legislation doesn’t impose such a liability upon him) that the employees will be paid the two-months salary. I personally didn’t feel the necessity of the channel’s existence neither prior to the elections nor after it. During all this period I was trying in vain to see more, but without any success.

P.S. I sincerely feel sorry for the television’s employees- as one former member of TV9 has said it many times: it all begin with a question for them and ended with a question.

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