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General Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster dismissed

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, September 10
Giorgi Baratashvili, General Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) has been dismissed from the post on September 6 for the second time this year. The Board of Trustees of GPB voted for Baratashvili’s dismissal unanimously with 9 notes against 0. Baratashvili already was dismissed from position once, 6 month ago and later restored to his position.

According to the board member, Giorgi Meladze, the Board of Trustees has attempted to inquire about the future plans of GPB, including financial and programming issues from the management for the latest 3 months. However, the normal cooperation conditions had failed to be established with Baratashvili.

However, after his dismissal, Baratashvili spoke about the political signs of the board’s decision behind the above mentioned reasons. He said when he returned after the first dismissal he did his best in ensuring new broadcasting in the company. "I cannot understand why there are questions about the broadcasting and why it was necessary to raise this question just before the elections,” Baratashvili said, stressing that “the board is completed with people who were nominated by the United National Movement (UNM) and they are carrying their ideology."

A rally was held outside the building in parallel to the board’s sitting. Representatives of non-governmental organizations objected to claims that the board was politicized and that the issue of Baratashvili’s dismissal was a political order.

Newly elected Chairman of the board, Emzar Goguadze, stated that the day before the board meeting, Irakli Tsibadze met him, offering various high positions instead of changing his decision. "At the end of the conversation, his tone changed to menace," stressed Goguadze.

However, according to Baratashvili, Tsibadze is adviser of the General Director of security affairs, but when Baratashvili was first restored to his position three months ago, Tsibadze had already held that position.

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association's (GYLA) media protection center echoes the developments at GPB. Based on the information released at the official website of GPB, 2 board members, Nino Danelia and Natalie Dvali, were not attending the session. They had given power of attorney to a former member of broad, Levan Gakheladze, and current member of the board, Mamuka Pachuashvili. According to the GYLA, mistrust towards the General Director of the GPB could be made with at least half of the 15 members of the board. Moreover, according to the legal procedures, each member should personally vote, without giving this authority to others even with their own consent.

According to GYLA, as the above mentioned decision was made with 7 votes, its results must be declared invalid.

It should be noted, that when the board dismissed Baratashvli for the first time on March 4, 2013, he was represented in court by the GYLA, where he won the process.

Tamaz Tkemaladze, First Deputy of General Director will serve as acting General Director of GPB. A competition for taking up vacant position of GPB’s General Director will be announced in 10 days.

Meanwhile, the new chairman of the board, Goguadze, has been summoned to Parliament, where he must present a report and explain the decision of the broad. Goguadze stated that he is ready to answer any questions. However, the date of his visit to parliament is not known yet.