With or without badgering
In Hamburg, which is one of the four largest media-cities of Germany the Mayor is worried that in the era of the Internet the sales of printed versions of Spiegel, Stern, Hamburger Abendblat and Welt have dropped. He even told us that the government takes all the measures in order to find an optimal way of integrating printed publications with online space, in order not to hamper their work.
He smiled to the question if government interferes with the work of media and if they make remarks and replied that media has been completely free since WWII.
Naturally, it is a little hard to believe this from government but later one of the editors of Spiegel recalled a case related to a critical article towards Angela Merkel when they called with pretensions from the Chancellor’s Administration but when the publication replied the editorial office decided to publish the article like that the Administration said ‘OK’ and that was it.
Despite the fact that it is Germany and we are in Georgia, I’m still confident that aside from integrating traditional media with the Internet, German media has other problems also; I’m sure they would not tell to students like us about such problems. Editors of different newspapers told us that media there really has functions of controller.
Compared to previous years the relations between government and media have also changed in Georgia. If earlier journalists were being permanently praised, thanked for dedication and unbiased reports (from which some were even half-hour long and dedicated to appraisal of specific individuals), now from the government we can only hear critics and badgering.
The so called double-governance influences media strangely. It is a little confusing when one fights with you and the other one pats you on the head. For example when the Prime Minister has extracts of quotes from different programs and publicly badgers part of journalists, President awards second part of journalists for public dedication. Among them Mate Kirvalidze received the Order of Excellence for being a co-author of Imedi Heroes (Heroes of Hope). Although, even if it was not for Heroes, for the reports aired in Kronika when he was a producer on Imedi, he actually did deserve the Order of Excellence from the President.
In parallel the PM permanently requests journalists to be critical and weaken his ambition that he has managed to do everything in one year and to ask substantiated questions. At the same time he reacts to critics painfully and his answers are not very substantiated (for example to the question why he has chosen Giorgi Margvelashvili as candidate for presidency we can only hear that Margvelashvili is a positive person and has all the features for being a President.)
In return President specially thanked journalists for existing and did not refrain from appraisals, while in 2007 Imedi was attacked by riot police, while 26 May (despite of showing press IDs) journalists were beaten quite hard, while all the talk-shows were closed down due to the fact that a flourishing country did not need them and of course while he spoke about such regional televisions opened during his reign as Batumi Channel 25 (founded in 1993) and Odishi (founded in 1989).
After the public badgering the awarding of excellence orders looks like mother-grandma relation with a child when one of them gives remarks and another one pets him on the head; meanwhile some say that it spoils a child.
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