NGO GYLA Releases Report About Georgian Public Broadcaster
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Friday, May 4
On May 2nd, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) published the survey about Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), which was prepared based on official documents, including the information obtained from the Public Broadcaster and the Ministry of Finance. According to the survey, there are many flaws in the work of the organization.
The main source of funding of the GPB is the state budget and the amount of funding changes every year according to state Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the law about public broadcaster, the GPB budget should be at least 0.14% of state GDP.
The budgetary funding of the Georgian Public Broadcaster is increased every year and has exceeded 50 million GEL by 2018. Despite the budget growth, ratings of the GPB, which is the best indicator of the performance of the television, has not increased. In 2017 the rating of GPB was significantly lower than the ratings of the other major channels, like Imedi TV, Rustavi 2 or GDS.
The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association evaluated the influence of the increased budgetary funding on the rating of the Public Broadcaster. According to the data published by the organization, the funding of GPB is the highest among all other Georgian TV channels but compared to the GPB, the ratings of Imedi Rustavi 2 are seven times higher.
The 2017 ratings of the Georgian TV channels evaluated by company “TV MR” and their annual funding are as follows:
- Georgian Public Broadcaster – 42.3 million GEL; Rating 0.68%;
- Rustavi 2 – 32.3 million GEL. Rating 5.04%;
- TV Imedi – 26.9 million GEL, Rating 5.28%;
- GDS – 18.9 million GEL, Rating 1.06%;
GYLA survey shows that the GPB spends more than half of its budget on staff salaries. For example, in 2018, more than 27 million GEL will be spent on the remuneration of employees. According to the data of 2017, people are employed in the broadcaster (both state and non-employee). According to the same research, in 2017, after Vasil Maglaperidze was elected as a General Director of the Public Broadcaster, the number of broadcaster employees increased by 35.
The given data makes the last amendments in the Law about the Public Broadcasters, even more controversial. According to the new amendments, the company will no longer have to announce public procurement calls when purchasing media products or services.
The Public Broadcaster will be able to place commercials throughout its entire airtime, except non-working days and working day primetimes (from 19:00 to 24:00). The total Length of commercials per 24 hours will be increased from 30 to 60 minutes, while the amount of free airtime for social ads will be decreased from 24 to 12 minutes. Beside this, GPB will also be allowed to accept sponsorship of programs and TV series.
Annual budget of GPB is GEL 52,5 million and according to the proposal company will no longer be obliged to return unused funds to the state budget. GPB will also be allowed to use budgetary funds for supporting “start-ups and innovative television, radio and online products, and for fostering development of the broadcasting field.
Nine-member board of trustees will no longer be able to carry out reforms without the director general’s consent.
These changes will put GPB in a privileged financial position comparing to other Georgian TV channels. However,according to the survey, large amount of resources does not necessarily influence ratings.