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Baratashvili is no longer the Director of GPB

By Keti Arjevanidze
Tuesday, March 5
After the seven hour meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) dismissed Giorgi Baratashvili from the position of General Director as he could not manage to eradicate unhealthy climate on GPB. This decision followed Baratashvili’s decision to dismiss the news department director Khatuna Berdzenishvili last week.

Berdzenishvili encouraged the board to investigate the threats that are connected with the news policy of the GPB. She applied to GPB’s board to inspect the general director’s competencies and “in general, the processes that are on TV after Baratashvili’s appointment to the post of director.” Berdzenishvili strengthened her position by recalling Monday’s morning news program. According to her, several news items were removed from her news box, “consequently the news policy on TV requires fundamental examination.”

Berdzenishvili assumed that her dismissal resulted from political pressure upon GPB general director. The former head of the department also stressed that the director had been offering her a certain amount in exchange for leaving her job. Berdzenishvili said Baratashvili was discontent with the news policy of the GPB. In response to Berdzenishvili’s allegations, the former General Director Giorgi explained his decision as part of the structural reorganization of the company, where the Political News Department was closed.

Before the final decisison Levan Gakheladze, the head of the GPB’s Board of Trustees had stated that the board does not have the right to change the director’s decision, although he added that Berdzenishvili’s accusations “are quite heavy.”

However, before electing the new General Director Giorgi Bakradze will perform these duties.

On the same day, Natia Kuprashvili, the Director of Regional Broadcasters, said the board cannot perform its duties, as financial problems at the TV company and other problematic issues have raised at GPB. Kuprashvili also put under the question the elections of GPB’s former director. She highlighted that there is a crisis at the GPB that needs to be solved soon.