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05.12.2011 15:20

Erosi’s Peak

David Mchedlidze
Media Discusions

Who would have imagined that the master of sitting on two chairs – politician and great media manager, Georgian Ambassador to Russia before the war and the great supporter of Russia in Georgia after the war – would be in such a good shape?! 

To the surprise of many ErosiKitsmarishvili jumped over the Maestro TV fence and took control over the strategic object without using any ropes, alpenstocks, or any other special equipment!

Well, “jumped over” may not be the best word for it as the video-surveillance cameras have filmed how other boys helped Erosi to overcome the gravitation force from below… Although, in that case the more important than the help from below are the impulses coming from above.  Considering the enthusiasm with which the governmental media is covering the battles underway in Maestro we can presume that “the climber” also hoped for a rope thrown from above. 

Speaking about the rope!  Do they every say anything about rope in a strangler’s house? 

The headline of the report at one of the governmental TV-channels was:  “Who owns Maestro?” The question was asked with such bravery as if Patarkatsishvili’s family still owns Imedi and Kistmarishvili – Rustavi 2!  I’d like to know what would be the reaction of the government and police if Kitsmarishvili intruded Rustavi 2 and announced that the broadcaster was his?!  Would the patrol police stand between the opposing parties? 

Would the police obey the orders from the veteran climber?  Would it wait for the Court decision? 

In Rustavi 2 ErosiKitsmarishvili would by all means have problems with gravity.  He would not fall down freely, but would for sure have a possibility to “count the stairs” when rolling down; although, ErosiKitsmarishvili, as the veteran climber still being in good shape, knows which peaks to “attack.”  Will anyone blame him for choosing a relatively easier peak to climb instead of inevitable death on Everest? 

Considering the ratings and other conditions Rustavi 2 compared to Maestro is a real “Everest.”  In “other conditions” we of course mean the broadcaster coverage area, government loyalty and great financial resources.  Although, Maestro has something that Rustavi 2 does have and that something can turn Maestro into an attractive “peak”:  Maestro tries to be independent; its broadcast is available for all political forces; in Maestro you will never see the “Soviet journalism” brought back to life by governmental media – half-an-hour, staged, embarrassing, video-reports; Maestro does not try to confuse the attention of the audience with multiple reports on car accidents and other bad accidents, which are aimed only at taking the place of important news.  Still, Maestro’s growth is hampered by many factors, including the most important – defective structure of the advertisement market (advertisements are mainly divided between pro-governmental channels) and connection with opposition leaders.  Maestro was significantly damaged by connection with LevanGachechiladze, ErosiKitsmarishvili and IrakliOkruashvili.  It has weakened the credibility of the claims by Maestro journalists that their television is loyal to public interests and not to politicians.  Maestro will not have a better future because of flirting with BidzinaIvanishvili either; the “marriage” with the new politician businessman will either end with strengthening of self-censorship, or new propaganda reports.   

It is a kind of sacred circle:  financially strong and influential broadcasters are under governmental control and their competitors are facing unsolvable financial problems.  There is no healthy competition environment so it is very hard, or even impossible to sustain independence, or create high quality production.  In such a situation there is a great temptation of having as a partner a businessman-politician with limitless financial possibilities, who will only turn you into another Rustavi 2, or Imedi.  Of course the ideal solution would be to free pro-governmental media and create fair competition possibility and to spend the finances of the billionaire not for a fight for power, but for building civil society.  This could be a solution if the most powerful persons in the country – president and billionaire businessman would make the right decisions, although we can only dream about this as the reality is completely different:  Saakashvili has trouble with refusing to stay in power and Ivanishvili – to come to power!  Anyway, Saakashvili is not Havel and Ivanishvili is not Soros!  Saakashvili has become famous for building roads, Ivanishvili – for building churches, while civil society is still weak and undeveloped and only foreign foundations care about developing it.  ErosiKitsmarishvili would not be able to attack Maestro so easily if our civil society was strong, as he would have to first overcome the complicated traverse of civil society strong institutions.  

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