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Tamar Karelidze

Provocation of ‘Public Space’

13.07.2012 18:26

In today’s world people have a demand for knowing everything about everything, being in the very epicenter of developments and most importantly obtain information just a click away.

Even though media, in order to kill public interest, pokes its nose everywhere, there are spaces which restricts strangers’ access and especially filming. State strategic facilities are among the spaces of the kind.

As a rule it’s prohibited, without a special permission, to film military armaments or the areas of their location and a relevant clarification is in place to clarify the restriction. Therefore, a journalist going to the military base trying to conduct filming without holding a special permission, faces resistance and in case of persisting a relevant response follows (either physical or verbal abuse). The journalist, of course, feels nervous then but s/he has already got a “bomb-like” material; the footage features the law enforcement interfering into professional activities of a journalist. It does not matter if the editor’s assignment was not fulfilled (or maybe the editor wanted that too). It’s essential to incite the viewers’ negative reaction for being denied a possibility to conduct filming.

Even though journalists are given some directions by editors or producers sometimes I have an impression journalists themselves overdo with their efforts. And especially the ones of newly set up media outlets. I will probably never forget the question on an environmental issue posed to the member of the Parliamentary Committee for legal Issues by an unknown journalist holding a “hatless” microphone. The respondent did not get confused and gave such a general senseless answer that in case of using the provided response for the future material it would be clear the MP is unaware of the law he adopted.

Public entity, public space, public right, public liability, journalist’s right, a right to this or that … sometimes I think some media outlets manipulate so well with the term “public” and blackmail respondents. Instead of focusing on hullabaloo if we get deeper into the idea of questions we’ll most likely find out that through haunting either an official or a party member of some district or an ordinary citizen having just left the rally with a mic the journalist is not really trying to learn something particular from the respondent. Sometimes the goal is to incite provocation to be followed by some show. And the show, you know, has always got viewers.

Rather often most of journalists go to trainings for fun. Besides, unless hands-on exercises are being done a monotonous discussion over any issue is a waste of time. But I think trainings is a must for novice journalists. When sent out for filming for the first time they should not be taught just the terms such as public official, public space and illegal interference into journalist’s professional activity but they should be made aware of some other issues as well: they should be instructed on the way the work is to be carried out, or the specifics of giving questions but it’s another thing what the producer and customer demand from a journalist. Rather often they need just cheap provocation and for that purpose the journalists are singled out from the most vulnerable group such as the novice willing to gain work experience.

P.S. I don’t want to sound as if I am protecting law enforcement when there are several cases of restriction or concealment of information by them in place. Many journalists have encountered problems with them when filming in the public space and especially in the regions but I think the hindrance which is truly in place should not be artificially boosted by us and we should not be offering state agencies a possibility for justification. 







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