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Head of Georgian Public Broadcaster resigns

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, July 20

Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) General Director Levan Kubaneishvili resigned from his post on July 20. The announcement of his resignation was preceded by a week of speculation that he might leave his post. Gia Chanturia, the Deputy General Director of the GPB, has been appointed Acting Director of the channel until the appropriate candidate is chosen.

The vacancy as Georgian Public Broadcaster head has already been advertised, the Georgian media has reported. Kubaneishvili, previously the General Director of Mze TV, and the TBC TV Studio, was appointed head of the Georgian Public Broadcaster in 2008.

Some changes have been made at the Imedi and Rustavi 2 TV companies in recent weeks. Giorgi Arveladze,chief of Saakashvili’s administration after the Rose Revolution and Minister of Economy in 2006, has been appointed as the head of the Georgia Media Production Group, which unites Imedi TV and Imedi Radio and is owned by the United Arab Emirates-based investment fund RAK. Speaking on Rustavi 2 TV on July 13, Arveladze said he would not interfere in editorial policy and would deal with only managerial issues.

At Rustavi 2 Irma Nadirashvili, a journalist and producer, replaced Nino Shubladze, the head of the Rustavi 2 news service, on July 15. Media experts suggest that changes occurring in three nationwide TV companies in such a short period of time is not just a coincidence. Journalist and media expert Ia Antadze has said only “very naive” people will believe it a coincidence. Antadze linked the changes to the transfer of control of Georgian TV companies from one Government group to another. “Very serious reshuffles have taken place in three major TV companies. We will see the results of these changes in the next few months,” Antadze told The Messenger. “It will become clear who is controlling these TV companies after the board members and General Director of the GPB are elected,” she stated.

Antadze suggested that if Rustavi 2 TV company’s former news service head Nino Shubladze is appointed Deputy Acting Director of GPB, it will be obvious that Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili is governing the big Georgian TV companies. “However we have to wait and see what happens, it is too early to make predictions,” Antadze noted.