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Lasha Kavtaradze

Guards of the North

28.02.2012 10:42
watchdog (photo: )

“Journalist was not good at home and was going hunting” 

If Georgian national channels are unlucky and people do not die from cold, or hot weather in Europe, if a neighbor has not killed a neighbor hitting him in the head with a stick in Blikviri village, if Georgian President does not open an establishment, if vouchers are not being handed out to population, which means that information programs cannot be filled with traditional topics there always is a solution.  So, Ladies and Gentlemen, please meet Mr. Solution, which you know very well thanks to national channels – Russia. 

So, they now, united from three main channels worry about democracy in Russia and problems of Russian civil society.  They joyfully report that our Northern neighbor will soon collapse, go under water part by part, or disappear completely.  For more “taste” reports include comments from Georgian genius experts, or prognosis from Novodvorskaya, or Baravoi.  So what that Georgia has already collapsed and our democracy and civil society face the same problems (if they exist at all.) 

During last two weeks Rustavi 2, Imedi and the Public Broadcaster have a new concern – Russian media.  To be more precise the government oppressed, troubled and dying Russian media.  Evening news programs, if not on all three channels, at least at one of them, every day show oppressed Russian journalists, but the reports are full of proud tone:  see? What is going in Russia, how poor journalists are there and you are not even grateful that we exist in your life. 

It is surprising when national journalists worry about freedom of Russian media more than about their dependence.  They worry more about Ksenia Sobchak’s program being shut down than about the fact that Ksenia Sobchaks are completely absent in Georgian TV space; but we have many “Asatianing” “Eka Khoperias.”  They worry more about the fact that Russian Prosecutor’s Office is inspecting Internet TV Dozhd (Rain) than about the fact that in Georgia we have Internet television like ITV is.  As soon as some third-grade journalist leaves NTV, we know about it earlier than Russian audience, but nobody shows interest when journalists leaving governmental “X channels” to move to Bidzina’s Igrika Channel. 

Considering all the above mentioned it is not surprising that our President describes Georgian journalists as nonprofessionals and bad guys.  He probably also does not like Soviet pathos texts about “wide-range infrastructural projects” read by Levan Javakhishvili, or when Rustavi 2 news program dedicates more time to one-person protest rally in Russia than to the fact of trees being cut in Kikvidze Garden, or protest rallies organized because of reconstruction of Gudiashvili Garden. 

How can you find professionalism in Imedi Kronika?  Probably Misha does not like 40-minute reports dedicated to him, or closups of applauding and kissing people, or reports dedicated to cleaners, editors, cameramen and journalists fired from Russian channels.  We must agree to our President – so many things are done in Georgia for developing free media unlike it happens in Russia, or course. 

I really can’t say how long the national worrying about Russian media will continue for, although, I presume as elections close (in Georgia and Russia) we will know more about events underway in Russia, but will not know anything what is really going on in Georgia. 

It is popular to use the metaphor about a watchdog when speaking about the function of journalism.  Our reality unfortunately is that journalist is not good at home and hunts the news abroad.  


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