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Lasha Kavtaradze

Mr Bidzina, Remake Rhetoric!

29.05.2012 17:59

In the course of the customary Monday press conference Bidzina Ivanishvili called upon the Georgian Public Broadcasting to “remake rhetoric.” Thereby adding that unless becoming loyal to the opposition, when coming into power they would not have a possibility to carry out this kind of one-sided editorial policy.

Being upset because of the remark the public broadcaster made the posture of a naive child and immediately responded to the leader of the Georgian Dream. The GPB Director General’s humor added cynical (and partly non-serious) color to the official response.

Now, I think, we face mutual inadequacy.

We should take into account who is urging the media outlet for loyalty, how and who the target is. No news for anyone that political forces are constantly trying to use means of media for their own benefit. However caring the policy maker might look, requesting (demanding) loyalty from the media outlet, he is unambiguously trying to have impact on it to some extent. And especially promising “to revenge” on behalf of the society when coming into power.

Moreover, it does not sound serious to demand the host of the authorship program to be a robot unable to express own stance. However surprising that might be in case of an authorship-analytical program the host might appear as an opponent to the respondent in some cases. (there are a lot of examples to cite from a “desirable” American media starting from Rush Limbaugh to super leftist Don Imus).

Shortly speaking Mr Bidzina Ivanishvili can demand the public broadcaster to cover the activities carried out by him and his political force; offer rostrum as to the one protecting the interests of a particular part of the society. But he’ would better manage that through demanding fair editorial policy instead of discrediting a particular journalist and at the expense of pledging “judgment day.”  Unless otherwise we have the impression that the new political force is just willing to be inherited current influence and instead of changing the situation it wants to change the name of the infuencer.

Now as regards the GPB statement: unfortunately the image of this channel is helpless to any criticism. Starting from its director general to the news program the channel has got so many drawbacks that it’s hard to conduct discussion with the supporters of Ivanishvili’s stance and defend public broadcaster. Last week too I wrote on the same topic on my blog.

Let’s for some time leave alone the channel’s general misfortune. Even this statement is enough to cast doubt on the adequacy of the public broadcaster.

Hysterical tone accompanied to the statement makes it really funny. It’s another issue when the channel producing news programs out of ready-made texts provided by state agencies is preaching media independence, journalists’ freedom and international standards. The situation looks rather comic when a media outlet shows no protest against current restrictions and is screaming of the future restriction in a desperate voice.

I can’t help mentioning the myth on “GPB’s comparative objectivity” we are reminded of in the statement and is being, according to the broadcaster, recognized by OSCE, EU, BBC and other authoritative international organizations. I have no clue how long Giorgi Chanturia is going to make himself believe that he is heading a good media outlet. I know that “comparative objectivity” is no catharsis. Not catharsis but a shame.  According to the principle of comparability Rustavi 2 and Imedi can comfort themselves that their news programs are a bit better than North Korean ones. Does it mean anything?

But I would still recommend the author of the GBP statement to read the recent report released by the Human Rights Department of the US Department of State which directly tells what an “unbiased channel” the public broadcaster is together with two other national channels.

And at the end I would borrow some terminology from to Mr Bidzina and say that the “remake” would have been useful for Ivanishvili’s rhetoric too but in case of the public broadcaster I don’t think just rhetoric would be enough, the channel needs to be totally remade, let alone closing it down. 

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