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Last Information Channel2012-01-17 16:42
Today Alania company officially takes up control of PIK Russian-language channel as a result of the tender announced last Thursday. For the TV channel this is the second change in management over the past three months. The channel fostered by president Mikheil Saakashvili has failed to become an efficient instrument in the media war against Russia. Chances that Alania will help aren't good.
When the First Information Caucasian Channel was set up, the resources spent on its creation left hope that the channel would become an influential part of the public and political life in Georgia and adjacent countries. Well-known Georgian and foreign journalists were invited to contribute to the channel and good technical equipment was provided. However, that did not keep the TV channel from interruption in broadcasting that started immediately after it went on air in January 2010. For one year the channel existed virtually after interruption of the cooperation with Eutelsat satellite operator (France). Robert Paulson, a France 24 journalist, was offered to restart the channel and took charge of the channel in summer 2010. The appointment procedure of PIK manager
caused serious doubts over transparency and impartiality of the media resource.
"The government of Georgia operates as the board of trustees of the Public Broadcaster and its management challenging independence and impartiality of the company", - Lika Chahunashvili, then member of the Public Boradcaster board of trustees said.
It took another half year and GEL seven million for the First Caucasian to resume broadcasting. The new start was promising with a wide correspondent network covering the USA, Western Europe, Israel, Ukraine and Iran as well as countries of the Caucasian region. In March the channel started 24/7 broadcasting. All these media achievements cost USD 15.5 million to the Georgian budget. By autumn it became clear that the efficiency of the anti-Russian channel does not justify the expenditure. Employees of the First Information Channel have failed to transform it into a really rated mass medium and a significant factor in a political and public life.
The audience mostly consisted of a thin layer of professional political strategists and journalists specializing in Caucasian problems. That is why last October the management of the TV channel was transferred from Robert Paulson to Ekaterina Kotrikadze, his partner in Key 1 company. Robert Pollson left the mass media stating he was expecting serious changes in broadcast policies of the channel.