I remember when I worked in the civil service, I encountered such a phenomenon as journalists’ racket.

     It happened like this: a representative of some republican TV channel or newspaper comes to the akim of the region and says, “Sponsor our channel or oblige any local big company to do so. They will not refuse. Then we will be friends with you. We will tell the whole country how talented you are as the leader of the region. And if you refuse, we will find faults and problems in your work and keep talking about them day after day. In a couple of months, not only the President and the citizens but you yourself will believe that things in your area are going really bad”.

      Not every akim will withstand such pressure and refuse such “mutually beneficial cooperation”. So he gets hooked, or rather, becomes a “cash cow”. Having agreed once, he can no longer refuse in the future and constantly “sponsors” this TV channel or newspaper via state orders or through companies that are in some way obliged to him.

      Of course, the dialogue with the akim is not always conducted in such frank form. Sometimes the transaction is veiled for mutual sympathy and courtesy. But the essence remains the same: akim “buys” the loyalty of this or that republican media.

     However, this is not the case with every akim. Everything depends on the correlation of his political weight and the owners of the TV channel or newspaper. There are very influential akims, addressing them with such daring proposals is suicide. But media owners are well aware of the correlation of forces and therefore do not send their agents to anyone they shouldn’t.

     The result of the journalists’ racket, we, as viewers and readers, see on the TV screens and on the pages of newspapers.

     If a TV channel or a newspaper starts praising akim unscrupulously and tirelessly without noticing his disadvantages, if it has made its rating of akims and put him on an honorable 3-4 place (the first 2-3 places are usually given to political heavyweights for free, just to play it safe), then, most likely, this akim has “found a common language” with this media.

     If, on the contrary, every report from a certain region is connected with problems, catastrophes, incidents, discontent of citizens, then most likely the local akim ignored the proposal of this media about “cooperation”. What should the akim do?

     To bow before “racketeers with dictaphones and cameras” and pay “tribute” to them? Or, on the contrary, to show them who is the master of the house, start an unofficial terror against them, not let them into Akimat, not invite them to events, not give press releases, sue for any reason?

     Or maybe choose the third way?

     Just to do what you have to do, fairly. Dirt won’t stick to you if you’re clean, and all the far-fetched accusations and cavils in the end will become obvious to the audience and readers. Also, you need to be open. Then, any activity will be visible to everyone and from all sides. Not only from the bad, but also from the good ones. You shouldn’t make your opponent shut up, but make the others open their eyes. Let one TV channel show only negative things, but in fact nothing prevents the other channels from showing positive ones? If there are free competing media in the country, there will always be a TV channel that wants to present the material in a different light than the others. Then the balance will be restored. And the picture will be complete and honest.

     If, of course, there is nothing to hide, and you are not afraid of being shown from different angles.

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