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Tamar Karelidze

Journalism that has turned into plagiarism

06.06.2012 11:54

Everyone knows very well that creating media outlet in a virtual environment is very easy; easy and cheap.  The given fact has promoted creation of many information portals in Georgia and many other countries in parallel with increase of availability and popularity of the Internet.  More and more portals are appearing almost every day.  The reason is simple:  whatever contents you post, whatever number of unique visitors you have you are still called an editor of a magazine, newspaper, or television. 

Many sacrifice time, energy, money and intellectual resources to their websites, although majority does not need much time for preparing content for their portals:  Copy-Paste and that’s it. 

It is not the news for anyone that in our country the irrespective approach to copyright still remains a problem.  Still, the plagiarism spreading in mass media lately is quite concerning for me.  During last one week I saw posts some of my outraged colleagues at Facebook ick.ge and netgazeti.ge expressing dissatisfaction with their articles being posted at other websites.  Authors or sources were not quoted in the articles.  Furthermore:  other authors were indicated at the end of some materials. 

Traditional media is more or less safe from plagiarism.  Stealing of topics along with respondents is not random here either, but unlike the Web, television is “weaker” by operativeness.  A video-report can be copied only several hours late.  Meanwhile, an article from a certain website can be copied to different other websites in several minutes and those other websites win ratings thanks to efforts of others. 

Traditional media does not refrain from stealing content from Internet either.  I remember very well my friend’s reaction when he saw his blog posted at KvirisPalitra portal under other author’s name.  He appealed to KvirisPalitra editorial office on the given issue and they replied that the article was sent to them as a letter.  They also said if he had any claims about stealing of ideas, he should have watched TVs and if he dared should have written pretention posts to them.  (By the way the TVs did the same; Rustavi 2 in the series Detectives completely copied one of his other posts.) 

I don’t know how can it be called plagiarism when a journalist works on a video-report all day, collects materials, develops a scenario, agrees and records an interview and finally he is not even indicated in the titles, or what can be called a popular article, the only contribution to which by an editor is correcting spelling errors, while at the end that editor is titled as an author, and not the journalist.  It can probably be called irrespective approach to someone else’s work, although I don’t think there is any difference in “heartbreak” in any of those two cases. 

Unfortunately the lack of mechanisms, the reaction of plagiarism victim journalists becomes just concern-outrage-condemning just like in case of the reaction of the West of certain events in our region.  The only result that can be achieves sometimes is that a stolen article may be deleted from a website after conversation with coinciding editor.  

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