Robert Parsons met with Caucasian journalists in Prague. Many know Robert in Georgia, he is fluent in the Georgian language, his previous job is linked to Georgia as well as to the launch of TV company Perviy Informatsionniy Kavkazsky (First Caucasus News). Currently he is Chief Foreign Editor at France24. Long time ago Robert Parsons, studying Georgian nationalism, was given a chance to start a job for BBC by former BBC editor Frank Williams. At the time it was a hard task in Great Britain to find a person speaking both Georgian and Russian languages. Frank says Parsons made a good use of this chance, having first become a superior journalist and afterwards an outstanding editor. Speaking to journalists about his own experience Parsons focused on news production, traditional and new media capacity, and their merging process, correlation between editors and journalists, working with sources.
One of the journalists attending the training asked Parsons to list the main characteristics of a good journalist. Robert and Frank meeting the request said analytical capabilities, searching and narrating skills, sense of responsibility, mobility, sociability, technical skills. A modern journalist, from their viewpoint, is to have the aforementioned skills.
The meeting went on with Q&As. Most of the questions were related to TV company PIK. In this regard the word ‘Propaganda’ was repeatedly mentioned. Tskhinvali and Sokhumi-based journalists were trying to figure out the reason Robert Parsons accepted making propaganda, Parsons though tried to show the journalists the developments from another angle. In Russia the attitude to Georgia was negative, Georgian authorities tried to change this attitude, that Russian propaganda objected. At the very beginning Parsons stressed that when speaking to the President of Georgia his main request was no interference into editorial activities and selection of editors team independently. His request was met. Parsons admitted that mostly the channel failed to balance news. Journalist also reminded him the journalists affiliated with Saakashvili would work for the channel, in response Robert said those journalists were not working on news production. At the end Robert added it is impossible to make a high-standard television within short time, and the argument ended with that.
Upon the completion of the meeting Parsons shared his opinion about Georgian media”Georgian society tends to say either black or white about everything. Same applies to mass media, you are either for or against. “I think the wish for creating the program such as in the West is still missing. Unless the society changes mass media is not going to change. Looking at the Georgian media from technical point of view, yes there is an immense progress. Nice to watch but looking at the content – it’s a totally different thing. According to this content everything looks either black or white.”
The trainings in Prague is being organized by Prague Independent Media Trainers Association (PIMTA).
Goga Aptsiauri, Prague