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Giorgi Baratashvili returns as GPB’s General Director

By Keti Arjevanidze
Friday, April 26
Giorgi Baratashvili, former head of Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) returned to his position as GPB's General Director April 24th, after the Tbilisi City Court’s decision on April 15th that he should be reinstated. On March 4, 2013 the Board of Trustees of GPB dismissed Baratashvili. In its decision the Board stressed that Baratashvili had failed to deal with the crisis at GPB. Giorgi Bakradze was then appointed acting Director General of the GPB.

Levan Gakheladze, Head of GPB’s Board of Trustees, said that on April 29th the board will officially enforce the court’s decision and restore Baratashvili to the post of General Director.

Visiting the TV channel on Wednesday, Baratashvili met with the GPB employees and journalists. Baratashvili stated at the meeting that the reorganization process that has started at the TV channel will continue under his leadership. Baratashvili said that while layoffs at GPB are inevitable no such reduction is currently planned.

According to Baratashvili, new programs will be launched to rebrand GPB. The new head of GPB's news service will become known in a few days. The position is vacant after Khatuna Berdzenishvili was dismissed from the post.

According to Tiko Berdzenishvili, head of GPB's PR service, Giorgi Baratashvili has already shown up at the broadcaster to reassume his position. He is planning to meet with TV staff again as well.

Lasha Tugushi, media analyst and the author of the proposed bill about broadcasting, thinks the GPB Board of Trustees is partially responsible for the controversy. According to Tugushi, the Board of Trustees broke the law by dismissing Baratashvili after having appointed him.

Tughushi also spoke about the mistakes that GPB has made. "The broadcaster was the only channel that did not show the scandalous prison video in September." he said.

According to Tughushi, GPB needs to be totally reorganized. He said that reorganization should affect the GPB Board of Trustees. Tughushi admitted that changes will not be instant and need time. He also stressed the TV channel needs to work transparently, especially in regards to its finances.