Editor's comment
Rustavi 2
19 November, 2015
The current government got hold of the helm on a wave of promises to restore justice in the country, buried by their predecessors. Meanwhile, Rustavi 2 remains the main medium, promoting the former professionally, wisely and masterfully, but with extreme criticism and acrimony towards the current.

Rustavi 2 has desisted being the name of a regular television station in Georgia. It has turned into a banner of freedom of speech, or rather, the token of national conflict, which does not
have clearly cut contours, or the forms that would help our flabbergasted society to stand up and cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s bothering us. We the rank-and-file hear more than we need to know on everyday basis on the topic of Rustavi 2 vs. its erstwhile owner – the biggest cause célèbre since the epoch of famous court cases, orchestrated by the Soviet KGB in those scary 1930’s. Rustavi 2 television station is a media corporation which has rushed into our lives as one of the most noticeable and felt consequences of the collapse of the Soviet empire. It did its great job in keeping the Georgian governments in check and alert. Moreover, administrations have been scared and wary of this newly born medium of mass communication. And this used to happen only because Rustavi 2 was not afraid to speak out, thus bothering the powers that be. Channel 1, the main TV station of the country, has never managed to suggest a competing rating to its annoying rival of fame and clout. Rustavi 2 was created by the young men and women of vigor and intelligence who were absolutely out of step with the Soviet life style and media operation. Its attitude and manner used to be totally outlandish, affordably contemporary and outrageously critical of the government. Thgeotv.geey even say that at times, Rustavi 2 was a remunerative business, which is not the case at all with any other television in Georgia. There must be over fifty stations on the air here nowadays, which in itself is a weird fact – over 50 TV stations in a miserable one-million market?! Not even that big, as a matter of fact! Rustavi stopped being critical of the government only in one particular case, and that happened during the previous government, headed by the United National Movement, which was replaced by the current administration managed by a solid political coalition. Rustavi 2 was bought and sold many times at numerous different occasions, and the public had never known exactly in whose possession it was operating, but that’s OK – we do not really need to know who owns what. What we are actually interested in is the quality of TV programs and the level of the truth we hear on the air. And this is exactly where all the dogs lie and the skeletons are hidden. It has so happened that the previous government enraged its electorate so much that most of the Georgian people do not even want to hear about their coming back to power. The current government got hold of the helm on a wave of promises to restore justice in the country, buried by their predecessors. Meanwhile, Rustavi 2 remains the main medium, promoting the former professionally, wisely and masterfully, but with extreme criticism and acrimony towards the current. Rustavi 2 has more than enough real power for molding opinions with their broadcasting style and content to the extreme detriment of the present administration and to the shocking benefit of their opposition. No wonder the government cannot take it easy, thinking that this kind of TV activity in the country might seriously damage their image by means of influencing our hearts and minds to the extent them of losing the upcoming elections. The worry is absolutely legitimate and understandable because Rustavi 2 is the most watched TV station in the country. If I were the government I would also hate Rustavi 2 and dream of getting rid of the pest, but I would certainly do this in a little different way, fighting the opponent with the same weapon, only a little sharper and a little more effective. This is all about the truth we want to hear and watch on our television screens because the truth is attractive and contagious, and we are all glued to it. The problem is that restoring justice is not a quick and easy thing to do. Restoration and maintenance of justice is possible only in case when the country has enough material capacity for this, when the governors and the governed are both democratically minded, when the freedom of speech is naturally present and the courts are realistically independent. Right now, we have a little of all that but not enough for being a truly fair and righteous society. And there is little hope that we will be any time soon. So this mind-boggling court case between Rustavi 2 and its former owner sounds weird and looks hazy with myriad unanswered questions. Listen to this: a) the former owner wants his property back but that property has changed so many hands and has grown in size so much that justice has become impossible to adjust to the situation which I qualify as intricate and obfuscated; it is a pure brainteaser with blurred aims and convoluted angles; b) Rustavi 2 wants to stay on the air gloriously and carry on unhampered with promoting the cause of their ideological patrons. Meanwhile, the entire situation is playing into the hands of those who have no desire for Georgia stop talking and start working. The unfortunate bottom-line is the dominance of ideological hell over economic paradise.

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