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Lasha Kavtaradze

Liberali and Tabula - Once Again

09.01.2012 09:47

I do not like Liberali Magazine any more.  Probably this fact will not do any harm to the magazine, or its journalists, but I will still tell you about the opinion of one, common reader.  I have always had egoistic sympathies to Liberaly so I care about them.  Since September I’ve had a feeling when reading Liberali that the magazine is on the brink.  If during the past season when logging on to Facebook I would always read several articles, or blog-posts by Liberali, because majority of my friends would share them, not it is not the same.  I do not wait the day when it comes out with great expectations either. 

Despite that I still believe that Liberali is the only magazine that can provide readers with quality analysis of real problems.  Due to genre specifics I do not assess its informational value highly, although, I think the analysis has also weakened lately.  Additionally, the magazine still fails to become sustainable and to find its own strong segment of readers.  Still this is a problem not that much because of the magazine itself, but more because of unhealthy media, advertisement business environment and society. 

Along with that, cultural topics, the so called “light articles” have almost vanished from the magazine lately; one can read only political, social and economic – “hard” topics.  Whichever high segments a media outlet is targeting, I think more attention must still be paid to light topics – literature, movies, technologies, sports and etc.  The reason is simple – although we live in an information era, it is also the time of “infotainment”, which means concentration of entertainment elements in media. 

Still I must underline Liberali’s one advantage – ability to see and actualize problems.  In each issue the front-page topics are always close to reality.  The magazine almost always manages to reflect the challenges existing in our society with all the parameters. 

1971 US Supreme Court verdict, which protected New York Times rights to publish Pentagon documents, said that press must serve the governed, not the governors.  The given approach was justified with guarantees given for freedom of press.  I think Liberali generally succeeds in this, not like the same style second magazine – Tabula.  Yes, that’s right; when you speak about Liberali, you have to say a couple of words about Tabula too. 

I don’t want to say that any media outlet is able to be maximally objective, although it would not be right to say either that any newspaper, magazine, or TV-channel must be solely working for “justifying” decisions made by authorities.  It seems a little unconvincing and sounds like talking to oneself when Tabula criticizes the “not so right-winged” decisions by the government. 

In the Journalism Guidelines published in 2007 BBC journalist M. Grigoryan said:  “English reader would be surprised with an article published in news section telling about successful work of some far that received good harvest.”  Unfortunately, Tabula shows such trends along with national TV-channels quite often.  The difference is that instead of a “farm” the magazine mainly speaks about the “victories” of Georgian government.  The praising articles about “export” of Georgian reforms are a little funny.  We live in a small enough country to know what this kind of texts are aimed at. 

This happens not only in news section, but also in analytical articles.  Georgian analytics differs from western analytics also with the trend that in our case they do not compare-analyze different opinions around one topic, but gather arguments in favor of one position and mainly according to emotional approach. 

Tabula’s advantages are coverage of international events and content diversity (which I believe Liberali lacks).  As a rule, articles about US election marathon, or “revolutionary springs” are written with much more competence than those about events underway in Georgian politics and social sphere.  In most of the cases interpretation of events underway in Georgia completely coincides with the position of official bodies, or is absent. 

Tabula also irritates its opponents with the fact that the magazine lobbies the interests of one, closed group and does not work for reflecting real problems of the society, although the guarantees of freedom of speech gives them this right, so I don’t see anything bad in the diversity of opinions. 

As a conclusion I could say that these two magazines have managed to introduce quality, ethical and relatively clear media precedents in Georgian journalistic environment.  Both magazines have problems, but Liberali partially is not responsible for those problems while Tabula intentionally ignores certain problems and “flirts” with Silk-TV in order to solve the only problem it has (as they themselves claim – sales (circulation).  

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