Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New era in Georgian media

Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) takes innovative actions to return its reputation and quality of delivery to become leader in Georgian media.

During many years it has been the only media company that managed to attract the viewers with relatively high quality journalism and had lots of trust from the public.

However, during more than the last 10 years it has become very unpopular and even the subject of mistrust and aggression. It used to be accused of being the "mouth" of the Government and the shame of Georgian journalism, because it used to be less critical to Georgian government.

The downturn of Georgian Public Broadcaster, earlier known as the "Channel 1", might as well been caused by emerging of privately owned media companies, like Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV, who had more funds and more opportunity to produce high quality material.

Fortunately, in 2008 and 2009 the Georgian Public Broadcaster is seen to be making big efforts to innovate the company and its ways of delivering services to the public. 

Taking a look at the website of its television (1tv.ge) is enough to understand that GPB is trying to take an example of the BBC and produce the material that matches the standards of Western media. New media is no longer an "unknown fruit" for Georgian media companies and they try to not leg back. 

It is a happiness to see that the Georgian media is moving forward even in the hard times when it is still suffering from the effects of the war, financial crisis and ongoing political tensions. 

During my internship (April-May 2009) with the BBC on factual programme Hardtalk, the editor told me that the Director General of the Georgian Public Broadcaster has been there recently observing the system of the BBC and the programmes of it. She said Mr Kubaneishvili is aiming to renovate the GPB according to the example of the BBC. 

At that moment I didn't really believe in his commitment, but now, after seeing the website of the GPB, I am taking my "mistrust" back and say "well done".

I hope that the process will continue and reach the moment when journalists will have an opportunity to work without being terrorised and without being physically or verbally assaulted for telling the truth and being objective. There should be no room for either self-censorship or pressure from the Government or opposition parties.