Editor's comment
Freedom of Speech
14 October, 2015
All of our governments of various periods in the last twenty-five years have been at a loss when it came to the relationships with media because media forms itself much quicker as a democratic institution than governments in general.

The Human Rights theme is not my bread-and-butter in life, but I know by heart the entire text of the Bill of Rights and, frankly, I have developed a taste for human freedoms as such from that most read, cherished and
celebrated political document in the history of mankind. Nothing is sweeter and more important for us the humans than freedom to speak our mind. It is the most pivotal freedom for Homo sapiens. The rest of the freedoms are based on this particular freedom – the freedom of expression. If you are deprived of a chance to speak out, slavery is guaranteed, and the only thing that can help to get back into normal human existence is again the freedom of speech. The American constitution went into force in 1789, and all of a sudden, it became known that the human rights were not specified in the text of the country’s major governing blueprint. The lacking significant part of the main law of the land was immediately added to the text in the form of amendments – the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America. The very first one out of these ten amendments says that no law or act by government may abridge the freedom of speech or of the press. The Georgian constitution emphasizes the same human right, based on the same human value, based on the same human ideal. Formally! In reality, we are right in the middle – if not at the beginning – of the road, propelling us towards the model of societal structure which honors the so called human rights to the utmost. But we are working on it! Our society is changing to a certain extent albeit very slowly. Starting from the very moment of grabbing the latest chance of political independence as a result of the soviet collapse about a quarter of a century ago, our political behavior is under permanent geotv.geimprovement and reconstruction. We have been diligently trying to acquire the glossy western façade, thus paving the way towards European structures and institutions as well as American strategic partnership for feeling better in terms of internal tranquility and international security. But not always we manage to reach the successful end. And the reasons for our failures are amply detectable. One of the most noticeable for both the foreign and the domestic eye happens to be the attitude of Georgian administrations of various times towards the media of mass communication, especially the TV broadcasting, which often becomes the victim of the angered governmental powers. The classical knowledge of PR and journalism is prompting the governments of the world to be careful with a written and broadcast word because they have the ability to stir the minds and move the hearts of those masses, by which the rulers of the nations are usually elected and reelected, or brought down and trashed like historical waste. In most cases, this axiomatic philosophy of interaction between media and government is alive and working. Moreover, this is the proverbial truth which most of the countries are no longer ignoring because they know exactly what kind of ‘rascals’ they are having to do in the person of the ladies and gentlemen of the press. The government officials are often trained on a very high level for their skill of handling media. Media needs to be treated fairly and correctly because media is today powerful, educated, informed and adroit, and they know well how to handle governments, and do this with absolute professional precision. Do we know this much in Georgia? I doubt! Here, the media-governmental mutual exacerbation is a commonplace thing. We have seen in this country the officially authorized armed-to-the-teeth minions of law taking over TV stations right in the middle of their presence on the air. We have seen the broadcasting media going off the air due to their persistent anti-administration commentary. We have lately been witnessing the disappearance from the air of several TV talk-shows because they would feed to public the flaws of the government rather than its merits. We have also observed the attempt of severe financial debilitation of a critically-poised TV station which usually enjoys the outstanding rating in the market. These are the facts that defy the effective functionality of democratic institutions in favor of our society, and make our chances thinner for perpetuation of freedom of speech in Georgia. We are a new, inexperienced political culture, therefore our political stance might sooner be hostile than amicable towards politically crucial institutions like means of mass communication. All of our governments of various periods in the last twenty-five years have been at a loss when it came to the relationships with media because media forms itself much quicker as a democratic institution than governments in general. Governments take longer to reconcile themselves with freedom of speech – one of the most significant components of democracy, especially if the new democracy is coming from the rigid depths of long-standing social order of communistic make. Governments need to be prompted so that they discern better between the good and the evil. If our government is one of those who needs that kind of a prompter, this editorial might very well qualify as one, the main message of which is not to fight media but to remember once and for all: If you cannot beat them, join them!
Print