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Tamar Karelidze

PM’s and Journalists’ Passions

07.02.2013 10:31

“What a question? Which television is that?  “You are so rude there,” “I am not going to answer this question,” “Learn to behave yourself,” – it’s just a few of the phrases mostly ending PM’s meeting with journalists. The more amusing they might sound to ordinary viewers the more insulting they are to journalists.

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s approach to mass media was first made clear when publishing a letter about his coming into politics. Along with discussing the mistakes of the ruling team a lengthy portion of the letter was devoted to the evaluation of journalists’ activities and pieces of advice. He did not even abstain from identifying certain individuals, and several prominent media representatives were bitterly criticized (but after meeting with some of them he managed to change his viewpoint).

The pre-election campaign conducted in the pre-election period by a set of media outlets might have been one of those reasons having motivated PM’s approach. But shortly after winning the elections Georgian Dream promised media absolute freedom in its activities. Many did not believe their pledge. The first doubts were raised when, out of the blue, the reorganization was launched at TV 9 that had been open just few months earlier. Everything ended up with the decision of the core team, including director general and new service editor along with journalists, on quitting the channel. As far as we are concerned Bidzina Ivanishvili did not meet any of them, showing no concern into the reason for the joint decision.

Recollecting the fate of the first TV 9 no there is nothing to be surprised at. Few years ago, the TV staff having arrived at the office in the morning was told that the television, following the owner’s decision was closed down. A lot of people were them made redundant. If memory serves me right no one clarified them the reason for the closure of the company 

Getting back to current situation I think some of the journalists have contributed a great deal to PM’s approach. They can be divided into two categories: 

First - journalists employed at the lower level of the media outlets that were outstanding with their “originality” during the pre-elections and second – journalists whose personal situation happened to change along with the change of the government. 

Let alone total lack of collegiality, that is boosting from Ivanishvili’s press conference to another, a new thing popped up at the third meeting: one of the journalists got concerned into PM’s opinion about some minister’s private life; another one, forming the question about so called embedded individuals, in relation to Trotskyists, made a parallel with the Russian law (thereby expressing personal opinion when posing the question), in response Ivanishvili rudely said he would give no answer.

As regards the second category we can easily switch to Channel 1 or log in Facebook and read some statuses. Eka Kvesitadze’s persistent question to Tina Khidasheli during the TV program Accents was a kind of continuation of the press conference – the journalist kept asking MP to provide moral evaluation to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statement over Minister’s private life.

There is another extraordinary category of journalists trying their best to indulge any government, without losing their public or financial positions. One of the producers after the press conference posted about being proud of his journalist for being able to pose a question to PM in such a chaos, without upsetting him. That’s another problem media representatives face. Unless we get free from self-canonship, and as long as we keep thinking of being careful not to outrage “the great of this country” we’ll be provoking disrespectful approach. 

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