To save Georgian media
23 December, 2010
To save Georgian media

The fourth branch of power needs international backing

According to the analytical research company of the Economist, British magazine, Georgia is in 103rd position by democracy index. Georgia neighbors Uganda, Mozambique, Cambodia, Kenya and Bhutan.

In comparison, the top five places went to Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand.
Majority of political experts think the rating for Georgia is fair but hope that the future holds much better prospects. Yet, in order for these prospects to materialize, sitting back and

waiting would not be enough because the problem is more complicated and deep-seated. What we need is to change the whole picture. Most importantly, the Governmental initiative must be accompanied by the engagement of public institutions. So, these institutions must change their approach to the current reality.
Everybody knows that objectivity of Georgian TV-media is something much wished. Most of the television channels apparently pursue Governmental policies. The experts confirm the phenomenon. Similar sentiments were repeatedly expressed by international institutions too. The non-governmental sector of Georgia, existence of which is still jeopardized, frequently complains about misconduct of many TV channels of Georgia; how they disregard all activities of opposition groups and any event related to them. In certain cases, facts are distorted on purpose. By doing so, they simply ditch interests of the audience, i.e. the whole society.
Even though excessive radicalism which predominates in the printed media seems to be overlooked intentionally in order to help create mythical feelings among aliens about balanced media in Georgia where opposition voices are identical to ultra-radicalism, still the real picture is easily visible. It’s a far cry from democratic values. After the so called Rose Revolution several political talk shows were closed down. A number of TV companies underwent changes in their ownership. Detailed description of further events would carry us away. It is worthwhile still to mention that several leading journalists, guided by a new Everything-But-Politics principle, changed their roles, turning to either politics or replacing political programs with social talk shows.
Recently, one more scandal gained momentum. Journalists of, one of the Georgian internet newspapers left the company in protest, declaring that a new owner changed the newspaper’s policy. Their frustration was so deep that later they held a press-conference, further detailing that due to a revamped Caucasus Online media group leadership, they were subjected to the intensive pressure. According to them, the new owners transferred Giorgi Kapanadze of Real TV to the position of general directorship of the holding (In Georgian media space, Real TV is considered as an openly Governmental channel). Gia Iakobashvili, one of the founders of this media website recalls that they founded Presa.Ge in 2007. A year later the site reached an extensive popularity and simultaneously joined the Caucasus Online media group. At the time, the sole owner of the Caucasus Online was Mamia Sanadiradze, who was forming an internet media group and needed to acquire Presa.Ge to this end. The Presa.Ge owners did not have anything against it because they were promised guaranteed salaries.
According to Iakobashvili, the newly formed media group took the entire advertisement space of Presa.Ge. There was no formal agreement between the two sides. They reached only a verbal accord. Subsequently, this was the way Presa.Ge materialized in the holding.
The former employees of Presa.Ge say that appointment of Kapanadze as the new Director did not get the confirmation of either Mamia Sanadiradze or foreign investor, who owned 20% of the media. Kapanadze is a crony of the Government, tasked to redraw the information policy, design, logo and human resources of the electronic enterprise. “That’s why we decided to leave the holding,” said the journalists at the press-conference.
The Georgian Journal contacted Giorgi Kapanadze on the matter. He said he is at a loss as he could not understand what the real interests of the journalists were when they left the job. Iakobashvili claimed that he has never pressured journalists. He added that he could not interfere with the creative work of journalists because he was covering only the commercial side of the business.
Former Presa.Ge journalists created a new website. They say they continue their fight to gain Presa.Ge back via legal actions.
Few days ago radio Palitra of our media holding interviewed Joni Nanetashvili, Director of regional Trialeti TV Company. He was straightforward in stating that he was contacted and offered GEL 6 million to sell his TV Company and leave the country.
“They told me that I should sell my TV for 6 million. I refused. Then they started to tyrannize Trialeti journalists and me openly, through phone calls and open threats from the Authorities,” said Joni Nanetashvili.
There is quite a high number of strange events which happened in Georgia recently regarding press and television. Yet, the most important thing is possibly not their number but the need to find a solution to the appalling conditions of the media today. Everybody has to be aware of real goings-on in the country because the only real weapon to improve situation in Georgia is an international pressure. It did certainly work in several instances, when they were applied. At any rate, there are people in the Authorities who felt the razor-sharpness of conclusions made by international organizations on Georgia and turned to more adequate way of analytical reasoning. If nothing has changed yet, the positive sign is still there because they, in the top cohorts of power, at least theoretically started to speak about the need of change. One of the shining but routine examples could be the publication of results of a certain public rating study and the reaction of the Parliament Speaker right on the next day. He said identities of media owners must be known to the public. Afterwards serious steps were undertaken in the legislative sphere to dust off the matter. So the dust was off - but nothing else was done.
It’s about the draft amendment of broadcasting law initiated by the Authorities recently. Eventually, this draft turned into the law which prohibited any ownership of Georgian media by offshore companies and set forth certain conditions for financial transparency. It should be noted that discussions of the legislative initiative on media transparency was put off for the spring sessions of the Parliament, the argument of the Chair being the insurmountable necessity of further consultations. The argument sharply contradicted earlier situation when consultations were believed to be over and all the aspects of the draft legislation were seen agreed upon. These seemingly finished jobs were accomplished by active representatives of the initiating group, non-governmental sector and Parliamentary opposition.
However, these accomplishments were suddenly crossed out by sordid statements of the Parliament Chairman that the Parliamentary Majority disagrees with certain previously agreed recommendations on media transparency regulations. The matter basically concerns those broadcasters who would receive licenses after the enactment of the given law.
Thus, the previously agreed issue has suddenly been backpedaled to an un-agreed stage. It’s a fact that the Authorities unexpectedly decided to halt the process.
Experts believe that Georgian Authorities must reform the judiciary system and media. “Everybody knows it very well for a long time that the judiciary system, election system and media need drastic overhauls. As early as in 2006, NATO pointed out exactly this point to Georgia at its summit. That’s why Georgia has not yet become a NATO member,” concludes Soso Tsiskarishvili.
Unpleasant situation encircles regional media too. Some time ago Association of Georgian Regional Broadcasters conducted a study in order to get the general picture of TV-media in regions and define its major problems. The study results showed that problems faced by the regional broadcasters require legislative intervention. So, the Association wholeheartedly supported the initiative on the improvement of media legislation.
While international community keeps talking at high-level meetings about democracy in Georgia, one can think about diplomatic gestures - nothing more. In their reports they depict real pictures. In the post-Soviet area, neither the name - gained in the fight with corruption - nor transformation of law enforcement bodies could serve as a democracy indicators. What is needed is mass media, the sole tool to mirror democracy in its natural color. Media freedom index is directly proportional to democracy in any given country; the democracy which looks positive only in those exceptional instances when we compare Georgia with countries such as Russia, Armenia, Cambodia or Uganda.


Other Stories
16 persons detained in connection with release of secret recordings
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 16 persons have been detained in connection with the release of secret recordings.
Eka Beselia: “You will not be able to stop me, to make me stay silent, to disappear me!!!
MP Eka Beselia has posted an open letter on her Facebook page, following reports of sex tape leak.
CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2018: Georgia got 58 out of 100
According to the CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2018, Georgia scored 58 and was consequently ranked as 41 among 180 countries.
83% of Georgians support integration into the NATO, 78% into the EU – NDI
83% of NDI respondents support Georgia's integration into the EU, - the poll results of the National Democratic Institute say.
January 25 – birthday of the second president of Georgia
The 25th of January marks the 91st birthday of the second president of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze.
Jack Shepherd from the UK detained in Georgia
A British man who went on the run last year after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames has been detained in the former Soviet state of Georgia - says Reuters.
Georgia recognizes Juan Guaido as an interim president
Georgia recognized Venezuelan parliament speaker Juan Guaidó as an interim president.
Georgian PM aims to turn Georgian into a center of the region
Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze is in Davos to participate in World Economic Forum. He gave interviews to two media outlets – CNBC TV and Deutsche Welle.
Judges that served the violent regime of Saakashvili should not be in the Supreme Court, says Eka Beselia
Eka Beselia, a member of the parliamentary majority, held a press conference in the Parliament today.
Possible confrontation within the Georgian Dream Party?
Eka Beselia, a member of the ruling party, will hold a news conference in the Parliament at 12:00 today.
13 dead from swine flu in Georgia, emergency treatment to be free for all
13 people died from swine flu in Georgia so far, but there is no risk of epidemy, says Georgian Minister of Health.
Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili not ready for launching diplomatic dialogue with Russia
I'm not ready to give any advice to the legislative body about the launch of the diplomatic relations or dialogue with Russia
Georgia suffering the steepest drop in democratic quality in eastern Europe
According to the statistics for the Democracy Index 2018, published by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU),
“Let’s see if you can wrestle with women”- Interior minister to the opposition
Female Police officers were mobilized in front of the Gurjaani District Court where the case of Davit Kirkitadze, the member of the United Opposition was considered.
Georgian citizens can apply for temporary residency in France
150 permits for young specialists as well as additional 500 permits will be granted each year to go to work to France.
Numbers of Georgians seeking asylum in Germany has significantly decreased
According to Ambassador of Georgia to Germany Elguja Khokrishvili, the drop of asylum requests has been due to recently taken steps.
U.S. Congress supports Georgia with a new bill
Unanimously the U.S. approved the act, which calls for imposing sanctions on Russian actors for the commission of serious human rights abuses in the occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
‘Horn wrestling’ between opposition party leader and police chef
Yesterday on the 16th of December, clashes occurred between Nika Melia, leader of the United National Movement and Teimuraz Kupatadze, head of patrol police department in the village of Velistsikhe, Kakheti region (eastern part of Georgia).
Salome Zourabichvili officially becomes the fifth president of Georgia
The inauguration ceremony of president-elect Salome Zourabichvili took place in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December.
Fight erupt in paliament between Georgian MPs during session
Verbal and physical confrontation has occurred between MPs in the parliament.
Famous Georgians invited at the Inauguration of Salome Zourabichvili
The inauguration ceremony of president elect Salome Zourabishvili will be held in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December.
Exclusive interview with Lincoln Mitchell, American political analyst and Georgia expert
More than 20,000 people responded to the appeal of the opposition and gathered in front of the former parliament building in downtown Tbilisi last Sunday.
The after-pains of the presidential election in Georgia
Yesterday evening, at a meeting with his supporters in the Philharmonic Hall, the defeated candidate Grigol Vashadze made it clear that he didn’t recognize the result of the presidential elections and called for early parliamentary elections.
National democratic institute publishes their findings about the presidential elections in Georgia
A delegation of the National Democratic Institute, which included observers from five countries, analyzed the election process.
International media about the runoff presidential elections in Georgia
Although it didn’t hit the headlines, newspapers and broadcast around the world report about Salome Zurabishvili as the first woman who became president in Georgia.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
February 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28