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    On Saakashvili’s TV, it’s a time for heroes and challenges

    by | Feb 19, 2012

    TBILISI, DFWatch – Hunters saved from freezing to death, sailors are saved from pirates, a monk saved from hostage-takers, villagers saved from water and power shortage. Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili gives you the heroes of daily life.

    As DF Watch continues our Saturday monitoring of government-controlled TV stations, the message seems clear: it’s a time for heroes.

    Channels again covered the same stories, in nearly the same order. Rescue workers saved hunters from freezing to death in a blizzard. Sailors are saved after being held hostage on a Turkish ship, the monk Iona is rescued after twenty-five days of being held hostage in Abkhazia, rescue crew rescue a man from committing suicide.

    There are also the more mundane forms of heroics. In villages in the vicinity of Mtskheta and Baghdati, people are happy they have water, gas and electricity.

    Apart from having the exact same news stories, in nearly the same order, government-controlled channels this Saturday also have interviewed the same people for their news items, as if part of a group project.

    A woman dies in childbirth and relatives blame the doctor. Rustavi 2’s leads its 21:00 news with this story. On Imedi TV’s 20:00 news this story is the second item, with Whitney Houston’s funeral as leading story, a 5 minute report.

    Both Imedi and Rustavi 2 this Saturday have longer reports about the business sector and the government session in Batumi, followed by the Parliament Speaker’s visit in Marneuli and successful programs implemented in this region.

    But now let’s get back to previous Saturday. In a 10 minute report, we learn about monk Iona’s arrival home after being held hostage in Abkhazia. This is the top news story, showing in detail how President Saakashvili welcomed him and the monk tellls him the whole story of how he was held hostage.

    Saakashvili on his side tells of how worried everybody was, and how successful the special operation to rescue him turned out to be.

    A short history of the story’s development follows their meeting with statements by the Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and the Head of the Interior Ministry’s Information and Analytical Department, Shota Utiashvili, regarding the case.

    Seven sailors are thankful to the Georgian government too, as they have been rescued from four days being hostages on a Turkish ship. Georgia’s first lady, Sandra Roelofs, hosts a dinner together with the sailors, and both channels have a report showing short interviews from the dinner.

    Less comfort lay in wait for a group of people who decided to go hunting and the weather got worse, trapping them in a hazardous blizzard. But rescuers found them and took them back to their homes safely.

    Imedi and Rustavi 2 make long reports about the weather condition in the country, reporting about casualties and people who have been through a difficult route due to the freezing weather.



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