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Public Broadcaster in the spotlight

By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 30
The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) is at the center of attention, as the Board of Trustees will have to elect a new Director General in 10 days, since the deadline for submitting applications expired yesterday afternoon.

The issue has become more important after Imedi TV announced that it was buying the Maestro and GDS TV companies in order to create a media holding.

After submitting applications for the position of GPB Director, the next procedures will be held in two stages.

Those candidates who qualify for the second tour will be heard on January 4-5, 2017.

GPB’s Board of Trustees will make the final decision on January 6 2017 through voting. The process will apparently be transparent and public, and the candidate will need a majority of votes of the 8-member Board of Trustees to take the post.

In total, 15 candidates are running for the position and two of them are acting employees of GPB.

The opposition and experts believe that the most favorable candidate for the government is Vasil Maghlaperidze, a former producer of the ‘2030’ programme of GDS TV, which is owned by the founder of ruling party Georgian Dream and ex-Prime Minister of Georgia, tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.

As GDS is currently in negotiations with Imedi TV, which has already bought shares of Maestro TV, there are doubts that GPB may also become part of Imedi holding, if Maghlaperidze becomes the director of the public broadcaster.

The Board of Trustees of the GPB announced an open competition for the vacant position on November 28, several days after the former director of GPB, Giorgi Baratashvili, officially left his post, ahead of the October 8 parliamentary elections.

His resignation was very unexpected and raised questions that Baratashvili’s decision had been politically motivated, as his term in office was to expire in December 2018.

However, Baratashvili stated his decision had nothing to do with politics and it was linked to his future plans and a better job offer.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and media analysts call on the GPB Board of Trustees to elect a politically impartial candidate.

Executive Director of Charter of Journalistic Ethics Nata Dzvelishvili says the Board of Trustees should understand their responsibility before the whole of society.

“It is very important that the new Director General was free of any political influence. I hope the Board will make an objective decision,” she stated.