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GPB to discuss Director General’s action plan

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, February 8
The eight-member Board of Trustees of the state-funded Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) is to discuss the 2017-2019 action plan of the Director General, Vasil Maghlaperidze, who proposed staff reductions and the suspension of 102 programs for a year, in order to “overcome crises”.

The Board of Trustees will hold open discussions with the participation of Maghlaperidze, GPB employees and media experts to make the decision.

Some members of the Board believe that with the removal and suspension of all programs from broadcast, the GPB will not be able to fulfill its obligations as envisaged by the Law on Broadcasting.

Grigol Gogelia, Chairman of the Board, does not exclude taking radical and painful steps.

“We have three options: to adopt, to amend and to reject the plan. The decision will be made after active discussions,” Gogelia said.

As for the reduction of staff, the Chair of Board says no decision has been made yet in this regard.

“First of all we need discussions over the issue. If we make sure that this is the best way, however a hard one, we make this decision, and if we make sure that this is a wrong solution, we will reject this idea,” he added.

The three-year Development Plan was presented by Maghlaperidze on February 6. His ideas were disapproved of by the majority of GPB employees and the civil sector.

Nata Dzvelishvili, Executive Director of Georgian Charter of Journalism Ethics, says that the removal or suspension of all programs from broadcast programming “will paralyze GPB activities.”

Moreover, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Transparency International - Georgia, also believes that the proposed development plan might harm the GPB.

The NGO says that each director of the GPB usually starts work with reorganization, which leads to endless optimization and unsteady atmosphere.

“Unstable environment has a negative impact on the motivation of employees, as well as on the audience loyalty towards the broadcaster,” the NGO says.

As the GPB is a public and not a private TV channel, the final decision over its future development is up to the Board of Trustees.