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Statement of Board of Trustees of Georgian Public Broadcaster

Publish Time 2013-01-15 11:35:00

Regarding draft-project of amendments to be made into Georgian Law on Broadcasting

A draft-project regarding amendments to be made into Georgian Law on Broadcasting was submitted to the Georgian parliament for consideration several days ago at the initiative of one part of non-governmental organizations. If adopted, full control of political forces will be established on Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). Moreover, the mechanisms as envisaged by the draft-bill will enable establishment of such control by political forces, which will win in the next parliamentary elections in Georgia in the future. Therefore, the proposed draft-project is targeted at transformation of Public Broadcaster into State Television.

The main function of Public Broadcaster is to be free from political influence and to serve its basic purpose: to provide the population with balanced and unbiased information, contribute to enhancement of modern western values and promotion of viewpoints of various public groups.

GPB has made significant steps in that direction in the latest years, and has overcome the distrust and nihilism that existed in the greater part of the public towards evaluation of its activities. The following moves can become the proof of that: Reports of BBC, pre-election monitoring of OSCE, UN, and EU in 2010, and evaluations of OSCE, UN, EU and European Broadcasting Union (EBU) of 2012. Based on these reports, GPB has proved to be the most balanced and unbiased TV-Radio Corporation currently in Georgia. It is more important that the TV audience has almost increased by 4 times during the above-mentioned period that makes increase of the Georgian citizens’ trust towards our activities more evident.

It is worth mentioning that during its annual reporting congress held in December of 2012, the EBU awarded GPB with a special prize for the most objective and timely coverage of elections in Europe.

Successful fulfillment of main objectives facing GPB means that existing regulations are correct and ensure independence of the broadcaster’s activities from political tremors, crisis and political changes. Pressure mechanisms such as non-planned financial inspections, rigid position with respect to restructuring of debt to the state and political threats did not affect the efficiency of the broadcaster’s activities. International support to GPB by Parliamentary Assemblies of Council of Europe and NATO, General Secretary of NATO and resolutions and statements of EBU are worth mentioning.

Unique situation is created for Public Broadcaster today: norms as envisaged by acting legislation should be implemented and no automatic change in managerial circle should follow the change of the government that may cause limitations to editorial independence.

Dispute extraordinary situation, Board of Trustees, in short time, managed to elect a new General Director in competitive, democratic and transparent environment. The planned rotation of the Board will be carried out in August of 2013 as based on acting legislation (1/3 of members).

Due to the above-mentioned, Board of Trustees of GPB considers adoption of the proposed legislative amendments by the Georgian parliament as unacceptable. Adoption of the proposed changes will be perceived as pressure on GPB, and as an attempt to infringe its independence.
Levan Gakheladze, Chairman of Board of Trustees of GPB

Members of Board of Trustees:

Natalia Dvali
Mamuka Pachuashvili
Avtandil Antidze
Emzar Goguadze
Giorgi Meladze
Bakur Sulakauri
Otar Koberidze
Nino Danelia
Eka Mazmishvili
Zurab Davitashvili
Davit Kandelaki
Zaza Korinteli


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