Loading

On 23 September 2014, whilst being a guest on Rustavi 2’s Archevani

 programme, the Parliamentary Majority MP, Giga Bukia, stated that Rustavi 2 did not host any debates until 2012.

FactCheck

took interest in Giga Bukia’s statement and verified its accuracy.

We contacted the head of Rustavi 2’s news service, Giorgi Laperashvili. He has been working at Rustavi 2 since 2006. According to Mr Laperashvili, Rustavi 2 did not lack socio-political talk shows at any stage of its broadcasting; however, after 2004, when Eka Khoperia’s Night Courier

was cancelled, the debates of two opponents sitting at the same table became less and less relevant and based upon its marketing interests the television leaned more in the direction of entertainment, organising several reality shows. However, after public interest in political programmes was renewed, political talk shows started to appear on Rustavi 2 once more.

From 2004 to 2012 Rustavi 2 prepared several socio-political talk shows. In 2004 Rustavi 2 devoted much time to debates. Eka Khoperia’s talk show Free Topic was on the air in 2005 and 2006. According to Ms Khoperia, the majority of the programmes took place in the form of debates between high ranking government officials and notable leaders of the opposition. There were no political talk shows on Rustavi 2 in 2007. Only at the end of the year did Inga Grigolia’s Prime Time appear with its political debates. The programme was on the air until June 2008. For additional information FactCheck

contacted Inga Grigolia but she refused to comment on the issue.

Nino Shubladze’s Position was on the air in 2009. As Ms Shubladze stated in a conversation with FactCheck, the programme did involve a form of debates, mainly between the government and opposition party MPs. There were once again no debates on Rustavi 2 in 2010 and 2011 whilst one block of the news programme Courier was dedicated to Giorgi Gabunia’s Archevani 2012

in the pre-election period of 2012. It also involved debates.

Year

Programme

Presenter

2004

-

-

2005

Free Topic

Eka Khoperia

2006

2007 (January-November)

-

-

2007 (December)

Prime Time

Inga Grigolia

2008 (January-June)

2008 (July-December)

-

-

2009

Position

Nino Shubladze

2010

-

-

2011

-

-

2012 (Pre-election)

Archevani 2012

Giorgi Gabunia

As for the time period after the 1 October 2012 Parliamentary Elections, Nino Shubladze’s Position has once again been on the air on Rustavi 2 from January 2013 to May 2014. This programme also involved political debates. Giorgi Gabunia’s Archevani

 has been on the air since September 2013 which also takes place in the form of debates.

According to Giorgi Laperashvili, the biggest problem of the Rustavi 2 talk shows before 2012 was the refusal of participants to take part in the programmes. In case of the refusal from the government officials it was necessary to invite the representatives of various opposition parties to balance the programmes and represent differing points of view. Mr Laperashvili also pointed out it has been much easier to organise political debates after 2012 as politicians rarely refuse to take part in them.

Conclusion

The number of debates on Rustavi 2’s political talk shows did decrease after the Rose Revolution.  According to Giorgi Laperashvili, this was mainly due to the lack of relevance of debates to society, a reduction of the number of political programmes in general and the consequential change in the formats of the programmes. After the talk shows reappeared, the main problem, according to Giorgi Laperashvili and Nino Shubladze, was the refusal of participants to take part in them. However, it should be pointed out that Rustavi 2 allocated no time for talk shows and debates in 2004, 2007, the first part of 2008, 2010 and 2011.

FactCheck concludes that the context of Giga Bukia’s statement is generally accurate and his statement, “Rustavi 2 didn’t even have debates until 2012,” is also MOSTLY TRUE.