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PM talks to the media about the quality of reporting

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, October 3
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili met with the heads of the news services of the main TV stations and the hosts of political talk shows at his residence on October 2nd.

In response to the question of why he did not visit the villages of Ditsi and Dvani, which have been surrounded by barbed wire fencing, the PM admitted it would have been a positive step, but could have changed nothing. According to the PM, those people are not the only ones facing such problems. Ivanishvili said if the previous government would not have reacted to Russia's provocations in 2008 there would have been no barbed wire.

"This does not excuse the role of Russia – which showed great aggression by occupying our country,” the PM said, adding that if President Mikheil Saakashvili would have listened to him earlier, “everything would have been different.” Ivanishvil explained that his team can not improve the situation in a day. However, Merab Metreveli, a journalist from Palitra Media thinks that if the PM would have visited Ditsi and Dvani, the local population would have appreciated the support.

Positively assessing the one-year activities of his government, PM Ivanishvili said the new government has fulfilled its election promises, without making any serious mistakes. However, he said very often that journalists lack knowledge on particular issues.

Nino Zhizhilashvili, host of Politmetri at Maestro TV said journalists are the postmen of the 21st century who aim at identifying the critical issues within society, bringing these problems to the government, receiving answers and returning the information to the public. “It is up to the servicemen elected by the public to provide answers to these questions, in this case you. We are professionals,” said Zhizhilashvili, adding that the journalists are not accountable to the government, but the society.

Calling the media the “fourth estate”, the PM said his government has been trying their best to make information easily accessible to the media. He said after the parliamentary elections last year that no one can say the media has ever been under state pressure.

Ivanishvili thinks that media need to develop and improve the quality of programs. PM thinks TV stations manage to reach the balance of forces by bringing the respondents from the opposing sides. However, the audience can hardly get the real idea of the situation. He suggested that journalists should feel a larger sense of responsibility for their “positions and expressions.”

“Without the public's wisdom over the estimations of the media, a new revolution would have happened,” Ivanishvili said, stressing that people have manage to make good analyses themselves.

The PM said that fact-based and clear criticism would be a great assistance to the state. However, he added that the wrong and inappropriate criticism can be harmful. Giving examples about improvements in the prison system, Ivanishvili said that Georgia has honest ministers. “If we do not place the relevant emphasis on their activities, we may start fighting with our future,” he told media representatives, adding that they should establish democracy in the country all together.

Ivanishvili said the candidacy of the future PM will be discussed with the cabinet. He thinks the government will be more effective with the new head as the team will be united and mobile. Ivanishvili once again expressed his confidence that the coalition’s presidential candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili will win in the upcoming presidential elections.

The PM thinks he may not pay a visit to the US before leaving the politics. However, he said it is not a tragedy, because his team has done everything possible with its “strategic partner.”He said he may visit the US afterwards if needed.

Inga Grigolia, the host of the talk show Big Politics (Didi Politika) at TV3 said the PM tried to deliver a lesson to the journalists. Journalist of Imedi TV, Vakho Sanaia, said he does not have any problems to talk to PM or any state official. Journalist at the Public Broadcaster (GPB) Eka Mishveladze also welcomed the question-answer opportunity.

The director of Tabula TV, Tamar Chergoleishvili, held a rally in front of Ivanishvili’s business center stressing that her TV company did not have an opportunity to attend the meeting with the PM .

Ivanishvili said during the meeting that Tabula has attended all the press conferences and called Wednesday’s case “a misunderstanding.” He said Tabula has never faced problems in asking questions.

PM Ivanishvili plans to hold meetings with the print media, news agencies and radio broadcasters in the near future. A separate meeting is planned with the regional media as well.