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Season of Hunting on Voters

18.07.2012

Aleko Tskitishvili

I already have an experience of media monitoring. Last year from May to December I monitored topics related to justice and environment protection. This was a project implemented by Human Rights Center financed by UNDP. The task was not easy but not as hard as in the project we are implementing right now financed by International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES).

I chose public broadcaster as an object of observation. This time I monitored prime-time. I observed 5-hour period a day – from 19:00 till 24:00 pm. I have to count the seconds and minutes given out to political advertisements as well as the social advertisements where electoral subjects are present. The hardest thing is to research secret advertisements shown during pre-election period. You do not know where the electoral subjects will show up with their mercantile pre-election ambitions.

Nothing alarming has happened so far. The Election Day is not officially announced and the hottest two-month pre-election period has not started yet. So, I am calm. I believe that some Georgian politician will not show up in the TV series “detective” or in “my friend.” So, I spend less time on TV series. I only search advertisements inserted in them.

European Championship in soccer was fun because I was 100% sure that our deputy candidates would not participate in official soccer matches. So I watched live broadcasting just because I love soccer and not because of media monitoring. However, if it was the hottest pre-election period, I would assume at least for 0.1% that his highness President of Georgia would suddenly invade Spain-Portugal game and make a decisive kick in the goal.

I feel like I will see a lot of things like this.

But interesting subjects are not visible in non-political talk-shows and programs yet. For instance, Eka Khoperia’s program Audience about the topic of cookery passed without showing any politician. Eter Kakulia cut onion singing. Cook Manuel demonstrated his talent once again. In brief, Audience was genuinely dedicated to cooking. I felt nervous only once when the cook of Adjarian Wine House talked about visit of State Secretary of USA Hillary Clinton in her restaurant. However, they just touched topic of cookery as well.

Hopefully, a month before elections when the pre-election period intensifies, channel 1 and Eka Khoperia will endure temptation and will not invite Vano Merabishvili with a pan in his hand and will not make deputy Khatuna Ochiauri cut onions.

I would like to recall one funny incident:

Kakheti Information Center disseminated information that Davit Meskhishvili is an electoral candidate. It happened so that I saw just the title and did not read the news itself and did not look at the photo either. I thought it was Davit Meskhishvili who was MC of program Autopilot and also in the commercial of Sapari where he hunted at hogs. I thought he was coming back to politics since he was a health Ministry in the past. So, I lost patience since the day ick.ge’s news was disseminated – I singlehandedly counted ads of Autopilot and Sapari.

And right when I started to write the report I accidentally read that news and discovered that this Davit Meskhishvili is a different person.

I already forgot that vain work I had to do to count the seconds in Ads of Autopilot and Sapari.

But I comfort myself that the season of hunting has started and the mission of media monitoring is not to miss these kinds of instances when some person leaves hiding place and puts trap for voters.


This blogpost is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of Human Rights Center and do not necessarily reflect the views of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, USAID or the United States Government.

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