Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 18:04

About mass-media, rating and the time for taking action. And the time of facing oneself into the mirror

I received a call yesterday on my Nepali phone number from a young lady working for a large TV channel in Bucharest, who’s name I do not remember due to bad connection. I don’t know how she got my number, but anyway, they are journalists and it’s part of their job. She was calling from an unknown number. I thought it was my mother, who is not the most experienced with technology.

I answered, obviously. Then a series of questions started, that seemed to me inadequate in terms of tone and style. Questions that sounded like: “Politician X, are you guilty? Did you indeed give bribe?”, to which the politician is supposed to answer “Yes, indeed, I am guilty. I did give bribe.”

I told her that here the situation imposed some very clear priorities, and giving interviews had not been and was not one of them. It was simply not a thing someone should be doing in those circumstances.


I also told her that I have someone handling the communication for me, that I knew that that TV channel had already been in contact with my PR and that all contact with the media must have been previously agreed with her. Later on I found out that the young woman from this Television recorded me without my knowledge while speaking on the phone with her, cut part of what I said and then released this on air as if it was a statement I made for them. I admit that when I found this out I instantly felt a knot in my stomach. To be clear: I have not made any press statement, nor given any interview to this TV channel. What they did is for me the equivalent of a fraud. I do not have the smallest intention to slander the press in general with this statement (there are a lot of journalists in Romania for whom I hold true respect), nor it is my intention to stop the press from doing their job.

Just a few moments before, on What’s up (on my Romanian phone that strangely enough had reception for a short while), I received a call from a very respectable man from the competition. I told him the same thing I told this young lady. He did not make our discussion public, for which I wish to thank him.


Esteemed professionals from the Romanian media, from this particular TV channel or anywhere else, please understand that in this world there are also people for whom being on TV at any cost is not part of their inner structure.


I have received till now, on my official e-mail from my website, the one destined to receiving questions from the press (not a call from an unknown number) tens of requests from the international mass media (CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, AFP, etc.), and I am not exaggerating. You might be surprised to know that all of these requests, coming from New Zealand or Columbia, have been written with great common sense and with the understanding that it has not been a good time until now to make press statements.


As I was saying the other days, "there is a time for doing, and a time for speaking". I thought I was clear enough and that you would understand and respect that.


I will soon make a public statement on what happened here and describe my experience from those moments, hours and days that seemed to have no end. And if at that time, for you this will no longer be newsworthy, I hope that the fact that at this moment I am preparing a humanitarian campaign to support people in Nepal - that now, more than ever, have a true and great need of help - will kindle your compassion and interest to support this initiative and that you will use influence and exposure to make a substantial difference.


I hope with all my heart that in Romania, still, not just tragedy and people’s suffering is interesting and creates good rating, but also concrete actions to do good and make a contribution.


It would be extremely sad for all of us living in this country, if this would not be the case. But that time is very close, just like seeing a gigantic avalanche rapidly coming towards you and it all becomes a matter of seconds. And I refuse to accept this. I know, I’m not being reasonable. I’ve always been like that. My parents told me, my teachers, my former lovers. But on top of the mountain you get only if you first overcome the obstacles on the way and doing the climbing. In the end this is what it’s all about. The summit is just the manifestation in the physical realm of an inner journey.


Without making a concrete difference in the aftermath, simply telling this tragic stories brings nothing. It is in vain.


Mass media has great power and influence. Let’s make it so that this time it is used as an opportunity for the press to make a real difference for these people and for itself. And not just make a difference for politicians and their campaigns.


Since yesterday afternoon, after arriving in Lukla where my physical safety is no longer at risk, I am constantly making calls through satellite (the only one having reception 100% of the time) with different personalities and people doing good work here in Nepal, in Romania and from the international community in order to build a concrete plan on what needs to be done. The situation is very complex. This is one of the reasons why I am refraining from making any public statements yet. Together with my team, I am working on a concept, a strategy and a functional platform, so that anyone, from anywhere in the world, from Romania or abroad, can contribute. As always, we are the ones that in the end are going to make a difference. If we indeed form a critical majority. This is how things are. Otherwise it can not happen.


Until then, I invite you, dear journalists, you who are not in a position to make the decision (or maybe you are), but you have good will, to reflect upon the ways in which from where you are, in the national or local media, with the stubbornness of the one that does not know “this is impossible”, to think how you can influence your colleagues and together to make things happen. Don’t think of counter-arguments like the (too) small salary which (I know that) you receive. Or that you are too powerless. No, you are not! Be a real part of the solution!


We will soon make public the platform through which all can make their contribution.


Alex Gavan


P.S. 1: In writing these line myself, I take on the responsibility that my words might upset some people from the press that are “only doing their job”, against all the PR rules and against the wise advise received from my communication consultant, to whom I wish to say thank you, feeling surprised at the same time that she can put up with a person as stubborn as I am.


P.S. 2: While writing these lines, 250 meters behind me, my friend Maurizio Folini just landed with his helicopter. Another dead body from Base Camp.


P.S. 3: I just found out that in Kathmandu, the price for clothing is raising. There are already those that are taking advantage of this tragedy.


P.S. 4: To quote someone famous: For evil to prevail, it is enough for the good people to stand aside and watch. Get involved!


Photo: In rainy Lukla, yesterday, after landing. Relieved. Behind me it is the famous airport that has not been affected by the earthquake.


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