Society, Politics and Bicycle
21 March, 2013
When the matter concerns a law or its adoption, politics is always involved. I was told these words a few days ago in the tete-a-tete meeting by one of the esteemed ambassadors accredited in Georgia. I cannot help but agree with these words. Any legislative act is adopted by the country’s parliament and the process necessarily involves going through a political mincing machine. Yet, I think there is one “but” there.
Every country tries to treat the media legislation with
utmost caution. Some time ago I was visiting Paris where I met with the heads of a number of media organizations. I became convinced that the civilized world always pays attention to anything that is connected to the adoption of media legislation. Independence of the fourth branch of power should not be jeopardized. Unfortunately, it happens and the main culprits are politics and politicians, especially those who want to adapt laws on media, which they intend to use in their future career.

Interestingly, a short time ago, the Europe adopted a resolution questioning adequacy of the draft law on the formation of Board of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, submitted to the Parliament for deliberations. Consequently, the deliberations were postponed. Eventually, the document re-emerged at the Parliamentary doorsteps shortly after, if only in a corrected form. By now, the chief legislative body of the country looks ready to start scrutinizing it, while the opponents suspect that political undercurrents are driving the process all along. I personally heard several of their arguments and believe that their concerns are acceptable and deserve to be listened to.
It’s a fact that today the entire country is aware of the facts that a journalist leaves a certain organization and immediately plunges into hot debates. I think it is linked to an inadequate legal base of that organization.

I personally doubt that the latest edition of the bill submitted to the Parliament will make any difference in this regard, if it is adopted; especially when the opponents assert that the elaboration of the bill involved politicians with vested interests.

As a journalist, I think this issue asks for a public scrutiny in order to avoid recurrent changes in the rule for the formation of the Board of the Public Broadcaster on every change of the Government in the future. The danger is there, and it is real. We have been through it in the past and why do we have to face it again and again? Maybe we must do something different in that regard?
I know several foreign experts. I maintain correspondence with them. They are ready to take part in open nationwide discussions and share their experience, which they have gained while solving similar problems. So, in a way, we are building a bicycle which the said experts have built long ago and now are riding it.

I believe, we have to show and explain to the public that the Public Broadcaster is the main information product not only of the capital but of the regions of Georgia as well. Simply put, it is not fair to decide on how to make a product which they pay for without their participation in discussions, forums or negotiations.