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A new commission for GPB board to be established

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 30
A new commission will be formed for selecting candidates for the Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). Parliament Chair Davit Usupashvili has made a statement concerning the issue. He stressed that approving all members of the board will require more than a month. The parliament chair is ready to debate with those who claim that the legislative body has violated procedures in the process of selecting the members of the GPB board.

“None of the regulations were violated, and I am ready to debate if someone claims there were violations,” Usupashvili stated.

“The government has failed to execute the Law on Broadcasting adopted by them and in this case we are at a loss,” MP of the Georgian Dream Coalition Tamar Kordzaia stated.

She clarified that by not nominating candidates to the vacant positions on the board, the parliamentary majority has not violated the Law on Broadcasting. According to Kordzaia, by the given decision, parliament has failed to be up to the mark. She stressed that by such a decision, parliament has taken responsibility for the crisis created at the public broadcaster.

The MP clarified that the process has been prolonged, but there is still is a chance for the public broadcaster Board of Trustees to be formed with dignity.

On January 27, non-governmental organizations called on the Parliament of Georgia to allow an incumbent parliamentary commission to select the members of the Board of Trustees.

The statement signed by the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Transparency International Georgia, CiDA and some others, reads that "the selection commission has gained considerable public trust since the activities were conducted in an open, transparent manner in accordance with the requirements of the law.”

They stressed that the result of the second vote, which shows no attempt of reaching consensus among subjects, is indicative of the negligence to changes to the Georgian Law on Broadcasting that were created to secure the public broadcaster’s transparency and more pluralism.

Member of the parliamentary minority Sergo Ratiani believes that the parliament chair carries responsibility for the process, as Usupashvili did not take the NGOs appeal into account.

Ratiani stressed that the parliament chair failed to defend the commission that was selected by him through consultations.

In July of 2013, a competition for GPB board members was announced by the parliament chair - instead of by the president as was the case previously - in accordance with a change in the relevant law. A special commission of civil sector and media representatives nominated 27 individuals, from which 9 would be selected by parliament. The parliamentary majority should have named three candidates, with three from the UNM, two named by the Public Defender, and the last by the Adjara Supreme Council. However, the majority named just one candidate. The candidate was approved. The minority named two candidates for the first voting; only one was confirmed. For the second voting, the minority named two candidates again. However, one was rejected again and another was not voted on at all, as, according to the parliament chair, the minority violated the time frames. Two candidates named by the oombudsman were confirmed during the first and the second voting process. The Adjara Supreme Council raised the same candidate for both voting. However, he was rejected in all cases. Thus, there are only 4 members on the board and the remaining 5 members need to be selected.