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Saakashvili won’t stop in media war08.07.2010 | 18:44
Despite successful peace enforcement operation in Georgia in August 2008 it was Tbilisi that won the media battle. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed defeat on the media field with Anatoly Tsiganok, head of Center of Military Forecast at the Institute of Political and Military Analysis. On the first days of August events in 2008 there emerged information on Russia's alleged attack on Georgia. Why was Moscow unprepared for this media attack?
Russia is not the first country that failed to get prepared for a media attack. Neither was it the first media war in the history of mankind. For the first time it was the States' invasion into Iraq and all reports coming only from Americans. They did not give a damn for the world community. Another example is a war in Lebanon: Israel delivered information exclusively from their leaders.
As for August 2008 events the key moment was that the Western media were already working on the Georgian side while Russian media were on their way to the theater of hostilities. Nonetheless, 90% of Russians favored the peace enforcement operation in Georgia.
I believe there has to be thorough preparation for media wars. Probably, special media troops must be created as I said two years ago and repeated at various international conferences. Moreover, I submitted my proposal on creation of media groups and four media centers to the Administration of the President of Russia. In reply, however, I got a letter from first deputy chief of Joint Staff.
What should be done for Georgia's population to learn the truth on the five-day war?
As far as I know a year ago a radio station broadcasting also in Russian was opened in Georgia. But, as I understand, this radio station corresponds to the intentions of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. That is why a retaliatory measure is needed - to create a Russian media channel in Georgian and tell the truth. It is true that Georgia's well-off families have satellite antennae that broadcast Russian TV channels. But this is not enough. And Georgian propaganda in Russia must be suppressed.
What other measures should be taken not to lose the media war?
First thing, this is creation of a structure that would deal exclusively with resistance in media. I don't know who should be in charge of it but there need to be contracts signed with other countries as well as Russia's program prepared to be transmitted in all languages worldwide. Specialists, including journalists, directors and script writers should be trained.
For instance, there were hostilities in Kirgizia not long ago. It is necessary to present Russia's opinion in Kyrgyz and Uzbek for Russia's position to be heard. Russia's policy must be known to everyone. The second example - we are witnessing developments in Transdniestria, and Moscow must present its position in Moldavian, Romanian and Ukrainian. Already now Russia must express its attitude towards Poland's new president, the situation in Israel storming Turkish ships and so on.
Is it creation of a separate satellite channel you mean?
I think it's easier to come to terms with other networks. For instance, Latin America receives all information from North American channels like BBC. We must arrange for presentation of Russian point of view.
I would also like to add that work should be done on the diplomatic front now that the media war gathers pace. We must contact the UN, which we mistakenly didn't do in August 2008. The UN Security Council must have held a talk on Georgia's attack. And we missed the chance. Secondly, the Russian Foreign Ministry should have submitted a note on Georgia's aggression to all states.
Do you think Georgia will launch new media provocations - also in the run-up to the second anniversary of the August events?
I have no doubt about it. It will suffice to recall a recent story on Russia's pseudo-attack on Georgia broadcast by Imedi. I'm sure Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili was informed on the program and it was aired with his consent. I believe Georgia's media provocations will take place in parallel with sabotage operations by Georgian security forces.