Anybody who says that democracy, freedom of speech and media plurality is not OK sounds irrational, because this modern-day sociopolitical bouquet is humanly agreeable and vitally indispensable. Our thanks should go to those who fought for millennia to bring this much good about, from the ancient Greek philosophers to those young men and women in the streets of Tbilisi with loud, albeit naïve slogans in their not-yet-weathered-enough hands.
What seems not quite OK, though, is the irrelevant surfeit of means of mass communication, operating in this country 24/7 with keen enthusiasm to prove that the other side of the aisle is wrong. Who needs this many media outlets in only a three-and-a-half million population, where the entire media arena reaches, by any stretch of the imagination, only one million consumers, in a $40 million commercial market? Tens of TV and radio stations plus as many print-media who are desperately buzzing their respective truths into the already-deafened ears of our morally and politically over-exhausted people, saying nothing about the commercials, swirling into our imagination with relentless perseverance to make some money to enable our insolvent media to survive.
It is amazing that we the people somehow manage to stay psychologically intact under this much media clank and clatter, perseveringly washing our poor brains. I once made an attempt to calculate the number of the entire Georgian media staff members, including their administrative and service personnel, then I put all of them virtually at work in factories and mills throughout the country, and came to believe that the productivity of this nation all of a sudden had a chance to grow so much that the state budget would feel substantial progress.
Let’s now put our sarcasm aside for a second and get down to the nitty-gritty of the situation more seriously. In the first place, why is it good for the Georgian people to put up with the existence of hundreds media outlets that are not remunerative? Radio, TV stations and the press are just not profitable. What they do is spend OPM (Other People’s Money). They just spend it. They don’t make it. None of them. In America, for instance, which is our strategic partner and the epitome of socio-political behavior, as well as freedom of speech and democracy for us, no media would survive unless it earns more than it spends. Isn’t this enough of an example to follow?
Our Western friends and allies teach us a lot, and we often take it for granted, but I don’t know if they are trying to instruct us properly in media matters. I wonder if they think the same way I do. And what I’m thinking is that people have gotten tired of this much political babble from every possible side and direction. If all these media stations have enough readers, listeners and viewers, it means that many able people in this country are not working. We are just reading, listening and watching. And conversely, if they don’t have an adequate number of consumers, what are they doing in the market? Why are they there? There are so many other types of work to do to help us all get fed and clad!
And finally, the most important of all those question marks: Is there anybody in the whole world, including our buddies in the West, to help us understand right from wrong and teach us how to prioritize our actions? When I tried to multiply the hours this nation spends in front of their TV sets, irrationally gazing at those mendaciously scintillating screens, I received tens of millions of wasted man-hours that could’ve been translated into productive labor. Several years ago, I experimented in the same way with millions of man-hours spent in street demonstrations and manifestations. The outcome was absolutely analogous. Earlier, I did this with cemeteries, where trillions are spent on building those preposterous grave walls and fences from marble, stone, gravel, cement and iron. What outrageous waste! I sincerely wonder how we manage to provide for our survival if we are misusing and wasting that much valuable time and expensive resource on so many futile efforts. Only with God’s help, it seems!