Georgian Public Broadcaster to continue usual programming

7 March 2017
Protest at GPB office (Sulkhan Bordzikashvili/OC Media)

Following a wave of protest over the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s (GPB) announcement on 6 February  to cancel all programmes except for the news bulletin, the company reversed its decision on 6 March. According to a new action plan, all programmes will last until at least the summer.

GPB published a statement on Monday and attended a conference organised by the Open Society Georgian Foundation, which included the management of the GPB, members of the board, media experts and local non-governmental organisations.

The new plan was introduced during the conference, where GPB’s management announced that GPB will remain the unchanged until the end of the season, which means that all programmes will remain until then.

When the new season begins, there will be a competition which will reveal which of the programmes will remain in the renewed broadcasting schedule.

Nata Dzvelishvili, who chairs the Ethics Charter of Journalists in Georgia, says that they should rethink their marketing strategy, for example how many times promos are aired and the sustainability of the current programme schedule.

Media expert Lasha Tughushi thinks that while assessing programmes they should assess their content, as well as their accessibility and the quality-cost ratio.

‘It is good that they won’t sweep away every journalist and employee working at GPB’, he said.

Vasil Maglaperidze, director of GPB, said that according to the new plan, the reforms will be ‘painless’.

‘This plan will be implemented for the new season, but we will start working on it from 10 March, when the competition will launch’, he said.

Grigol Gogelia, head of GPB’s board, says that management will try to fulfill their duties as a public broadcaster, as well as implement effective projects.

The initial action plan announced on 6 February by GPB’s incoming director would have cancelled every programme in GPB except for the news bulletin.

The wave of protests began even before Maglaperidze announced the action plan, when the Coalition for Media Advocacy issued a statement 5 February that there were plans to cancel popular political debate show, Realuri Sivrtse (Real Space).

Protests continued for several days, with activists breaking into the building of GPB and demanded to be put live on-air.

A meeting of GPB’s board will be held today to discuss and approve the new plan.

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