The First Channel views the film ‘Affect of Advertising on the Public Broadcaster’ produced by Journalism Resource Center just as a part of the disinformation campaign carried out by a group of people that the Channel management has repeatedly protested against.
Such distortion of facts and attempts to mislead the public undermine the reputation of the Public Broadcaster.
The film relies on totally ungrounded, not infrequently controversial assumptions, distorted facts and it is on those that the film makers draw totally illogical, deceptive conclusions. The film makers’ strive to portray falsehood as an actual reality is so striking that it cannot be put down to just a lack of competence.
WE say emphatically that not only does the film disregard the journalistic but legal standards as well. Here are some facts:
- Disinformation – sponsorship restriction was lifted from the Public Broadcaster and it was made the same that of the private companies. Also, it was given double the time for commercials: 12 min. per hour
- The Truth – the First Channel was allowed to air commercials off the primetime 3min. per hour. As to the sponsorship, the Public Broadcaster is allowed to sell only the sponsorship of the entertainment programs, soap operas and feature films.
- Disinformation – the Public Broadcaster aired commercial advertising during breaks in the feature films, “Moambe” news etc. programs.
- The Truth – there are no breaks in the “Moambe” news program. We have never aired commercials in breach of the legislation.
- Disinformation – in the reports published on websites of the Public Broadcaster and the Georgian National Communications Commission, the figures concerning the Broadcaster’s advertising revenues differ.
- The Truth – The filmmakers compare the data of totally different periods and services. The actual revenue, i.e. that of received on a certain date or/and in a certain period and the contractual value differ for latter may be paid by installment until the end of the year and is reflected in the total income of a certain quarter or/and period. The Public Broadcaster publishes the information on the Commission’s web portal, which is regularly monitored.
- Disinformation – Regional media outlets suffered due to the legislative changes in the law “On Advertising” last year (2018).
- The Truth – In 2018, the Broadcaster did not conclude an advertising contract. There were only several so called product placements from December and barter contracts from September. Therefore, the First Channel advertising sales could not have affected the advertising market.
- Requirements of obtainment and supply of information by secret methods were breached. Also, we believe the material obtained in this way cannot be edited. Manipulation with the phrases taken out of a broader context as was the case in a recorded telephone conversation between the initiator of the experiment and a Public Broadcaster staff is also unacceptable.
Unfortunately, it is just a short list of the disinformation pieces. With due regard to the right of the freedom of expression the Public Broadcaster will resort to all the legitimate means to protect its professional reputation. First of all we urge the filmmaker to correct the errors and make a public statement.
The interviews made at the Public Broadcaster were edited, which resulted in the distortion and manipulation of facts. Therefore, we want them to be fully published on the Journalism Resource Center website.
Since the allegations made in the film carry connotations of embezzlement of public funds, which is a criminal offence, we urge the Public Broadcaster Board and the Regulatory Commission whose scope the control of advertising is in, to investigate the appropriateness of the allegations made in the film and take a clear-cut stance.
We also call upon the EU mission in Georgia that funded the film to monitor the examination of the allegations since it is the case of attempted deliberate undermining of the reputation of the organization and marring the persons’ image.