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19.10.2009 21:17

Independent GNS Studio

David Mchedlidze
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Independent GNS studio is to celebrate its one year anniversary in October. The programme, Report of the Week produced by the studio is aired on Sundays, at 21:00 through Kavkasia TV. 

According to the contract concluded with the TV company the programmes produced by the studio are purchased by the TV channel. The main condition is the production of the programme in adherence to ethics, unless otherwise Kavkasia TV enjoys a right to block the studio production from airing which is yet unprecedented.

GNS was registered in October 2008 as a non-commercial legal person – NGO whose founders are former Rustavi 2 journalists Tamar Rukhadze and Nana Lezhava.

Ahead of the registration there was a 2-year pause in journalism. According to Tamar Rukhadze after quitting Rustavi 2 in 2006 in protest, first they left the country and afterwards joined the political party Movement for United Georgia founded by former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili. After leaving the party the formation of the studio was kickstarted in 2008.

"We feared we would find it difficult to go into politics and then back to journalism, we tried it didn’t affect the audience so that nobody could doubt of our professionalism. I don’t think anybody cares today where we were two years ago," Tamar Rukhadze said.

In addition, she said, the foundation of the studio was conditioned by the change of the situation, in particular donors pay more attention to independent studios.

Together with Tamar Rukhadze and Nana Lezhava two more journalists such as Imeda Darsalia and Teona Gegelia, as well as two cameramen and a driver work for the studio.

The foundation of the studio, according to Tamar Rukhadze, was launched through the money donated by friends. The money was spent on registration The camera was brought by Nana Lezhava and the stories were edited at Kavkasia TV.

Now the studio has got its own equipment due to the funding by the Open Society Georgia Foundation.

"The main amount of funding was spent on the purchase of technical equipments. We bought two cameras with their accessories, a PC and video editing equipment," Tamar Rukhadze said.

One can judge about the rating of the GNS-produced programmes through the number of visitors to the newly-launched blog of the studio since Kavkasia TV, whose coverage is limited to Tbilisi and its surroundings doesn’t apply the method of research such as people meter.

"So far only ten programmes has been uploaded on the blog and 11,000 unique visitors have already visited the Website," Tamar Rukhadze said.

According to the producer of the programme the product of the studio is of interest to the part of the society who would like to have more genuine information than provided through other sources. The slogan of the programme reads as follows: "Whatever you cannot see anywhere else."

"It never means the topics we cover are not covered by other channels. But rather often we touch the details others avoid to, or we chose the topic nobody covers," Tamar Rukhadze pointed out.

According to her The Report of the Week is not a programme of a classical investigative type but the stories contain elements of investigation. Therefore the representatives of the authorities avoid relations with the studio. In this regard law enforcement bodies are to be stressed. According to the studio staff throughout a year there has been several attempts for obtaining comments from the Ministry of Internal Affairs but they were refused.

"We had luck only once and they agreed on granting the comment," Tamar Rukhadze said.

"According to standards we shall have comments by both sides to have a right to air the story. But through adhering to this standard we lose a chance to cover many topics," she added.

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