Given the overwhelming importance of television to the average person, it is prudent that ownership and administration of television networks not be left solely to the government.
Government and privately owned television stations should coexist in a democratic setting to ensure fairness and transparency in the dissemination of information to the public.
Georgia has historically had a strong state-controlled media, but the post-election period has allowed for the establishment of privately-owned TV stations, resulting in a new media landscape. Television first arrived in Georgia in 1956, and the country now has a couple of government and privately-owned television networks.
Georgia And New Private TV Stations
David Kezerashvili, the owner of Formula TV, is a new player in Georgia’s broadcasting industry. The channel began broadcasting on October 1, 2019 and is already one of the country’s major television stations. Political talk shows, as well as regular news and entertainment programs, are available to viewers.
What distinguishes this Georgian television station is its founder’s vision of upholding the principles of fair reporting and global standards in news reporting. Former politician David Kezerashvili founded the new TV station with the goal of promoting media credibility by building strong relationships with the Western world and foreign-based media practitioners to help promote the sanctity of news reporting in the country. Hence, even if the new government decides to clamp down on Formula TV, their foreign partners can raise awareness about the media censorship in the country while also continuing reporting news as it happens. Apart from Formula TV, Rustavi 2, TV Pirelli, Maestro TV, and Imedi TV are some of the other television stations in Georgia.
While Georgia is receiving a lot of media attention right now, the rest of Eastern Europe is getting less. We asked David Kezerashvili about private television in Eastern Europe in general while speaking with him about the current situation in Georgia.
Private Television in Eastern Europe
The prevalence of privately owned television channels in Eastern Europe is not limited to Georgia; it also extends to other East European nations as well where a free press is not always guaranteed as recently witnessed in Ukraine. In Eastern Europe, it is not uncommon to find that the majority of the television stations in the country are either owned by the government or companies. Hence, the private TV stations in the region will likely pale in comparison with what obtains in the west. Depending on the country of interest, you may have access to one or more privately owned channels.
Kanal TV is a privately owned television station in Estonia. The channel was established by filmmaker IImar Taska and began broadcasting on October 1, 1993.
Russia is a country with significant government influence on the media. However, in spite of this, there are a host of private stations operational in the country; some are owned by private investors. Private stations in the country include Ru.TV, Dozhd, 2×2, RBC TV, Domashny, REN TV, RTV-i among others. Hungary is another Eastern European nation with a lot of private television channels. Erdely TV and TVR Targu Mures.
Private Television And Democracy
Television plays a great role in society and one of the signposts of the growth of civilization in the 21st century is the growth of digital television across the world. The ownership of privately owned television channels is bound to rise as the years go by. The rise of private television stations in Eastern Europe is a welcome development as it is one that would help in creating jobs and also aid in the propagation of news reportage. It will also help to strengthen democratic principles within the region while discouraging the potential rise of dictators. However, there is also the prospect of rich individuals with political motives dabbling into ownership of television stations just to propagate their own agenda. This perhaps is the only side effect of private television stations, although this is not enough to completely overlook the good parts of it.
Television is arguably the most popular media platform. Its ability to combine audio with visual content makes it particularly endearing and effective for broadcasting news or any other kind of information. Essentially, it is a media platform that appeals to the old and young as well as males and females. It is one of the major electronic items to possess. In today’s modern world, television performs three cardinal roles which are; educate, inform and entertain. Also, television serves as a medium through which the government can inform the public of its activities.
After talking to David Kezerashvili, it’s obvious that media plays a significant role in the establishment of a strong democracy, not only in Georgia but in Eastern Europe at large. It will be interesting to witness how much development will accrue to Georgia and Eastern Europe from the presence of privately owned television channels.