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Let’s set aside politics, friendship and personal feelings

07.11.2013 14:12

Radio Hereti case hearing starts in Court today.  It is symbolic that this happens on 7 November.  6 years ago right on this date was raided Badri Patarkatsishvili’s independent information policy oriented Imedi TV, many journalists were beaten and they got away with it… including those who are now peaching about “justice for all.” 

Violence was not limited only to 7 November; Hereti is in danger too.  If we would not stop airing opposition opinions we would be raided just like Imedi TV. 

Everything was real.  Considering the threatening I knew very well who I was dealing with.  We would either remain on air or would become like those who sold independent news for money. 

I love risk so we circulated a hidden recording… Today Hereti would not be on air if it was not for the efforts by the then Public Defender.  The given case has been in Prosecutor’s Office since 2007. 

Maybe for some people our radio working “somewhere in the province” does not mean anything, but for me and my employees, our big family it is our whole life; whole 15 years. 

Political environment is reflected on the given really independent media outlet like on a litmus test as it has never been financed by any government or opposition forces.  That is why in the past and now we live by minor advertisement revenues. 

In 20087, before the war Hereti revenues achieved its peak.  We were able to freely cover radio expenses and give solid salaries to employees.  It is very hard to be in permanent waiting regime and working on just enthusiasm. 

It is good when at least international organization show support and fund projects that Hereti has submitted at different times.  It is not true that these amounts are enough for conducting qualified journalistic investigations for example, but we have always taken the risk of doing it in the region in which everyone knows everyone.  I remember very well on one Election-day brother locked head of our news service in the room and did not let to come to work…  Later she changed profession. 

Anyway, Kakheti market is familiar to us but at the same time gives low revenues.  It is impossible to make a sustainable media outlet if you do not have certain financial assistance. 

In regions some are distinguished by “harsh critics” and “sensational news”, some make just “soft materials” and some just give minor information.  That is why I kind of “understand” when government funds by dotation regional media organizations. 

They need money from government to government.  Efforts by neither funds nor the Charter will be effective for saving them.  They just do not have the will to be independent. 

Due to this small market, which is karma for Hereti probably, we have been “fighting” for Tbilisi coverage with permanent injustice.  Although… again disappointment, again court trial and again waiting…

Despite the fact that there are researches by many authoritative international organizations confirming that we work professionally and by high standards they do not let independent media business to develop. 

Again political, again clan and interests of new authorities…

It seems like government wishes for media to be free but we also see very well where advertisements and human resources go. 

Don’t believe that advertisement market is not monopolized; although it has weakened a little but the new players have good appetite too – expensive products and staff need a lot of money. 

Yes!  Advertisement market is again in the hands of politically biased.  And yes, more or less its supporters – civil sector too, which it may be said is in ostrich position. 

But for at least once we may set aside politics, friendship, “personal feelings” and be better professionals. 

Until there will be such “underground streams” we will not be able to get out of this “swamp” in which we lived before elections and which we blame on others too.

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