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Correspondence Between Bidzina Ivanishvili and GPB

31.05.2012

Media.ge

Bidzina Ivanishvili has made another statement in response to the Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB). In the May 29 letter released by Ivanishvili’s press service the leader of the coalition Georgian Dream speaks of libel by the public broadcaster.

“My remarks in regard to the public broadcaster were followed by the libel voiced by the TV management, as if I am conducting campaign against media and GPB, in particular, as if I am blackmailing the public broadcaster when stating that the public-funded television should be performing its duty instead of making up lies and conducting its replication. I just remarked that the public broadcaster should meet the interests of the society instead indulging any government’s will,” says Ivanishvili.

In the same letter Ivanishvili promises the society that after coming into power he will help the public broadcaster serve the society and secure its editorial independence.
“We’ll do our best to assist every journalist to be free and protected, so that no one could compel them to be just anchors and following the interests of any particular political team.

We promise our people will do their utmost to establish confidence to this broadcaster once and forever and make it turn into a real public broadcaster expressing the interests of the society,” reads the letter.


On May 28 the Public Broadcaster released a statement stressing that the leader of the Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili continues oppression on the Public Broadcaster. The GPB calls on the media outlets and international and non-governmental organizations in Georgia to adequately evaluate intimidation facts on media by Bidzina Ivanishvili and his team members.

“Today we learned that unless we “change the rhetoric” and be absolutely loyal to Ivanishvili, the future of the GPB will be obscure if he comes into power,” the Public Broadcaster statement reads.  It is also indicated that public broadcasting and its editorial and financial independence is the achievement of Georgia.

“Our funding does not depend on the will of Parliament, or government and is 0.12% of the Gross Domestic Product of Georgia.

All the international experts and professionals agree that the given system is one of the most progressive and insures the full independence of the broadcaster, including editorial freedom.  OSCE, UN, European Union, BBC and other authoritative international organizations have many times confirmed that the PB is one of the most balanced and impartial broadcasters in the country,” statement by the Public Broadcaster reads.

The given statement was preceded by Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statement made at 28 May press-conferenceby the leader of the Georgian Dream.  Specifically Ivanishvili disliked the position of the anchor of the 27 May Accents program of the Public Broadcaster Eka Kvesitadze.  He also stressed that when he comes into government; the society will change its position and will no longer fund the Public Broadcaster if it continues activities in the same way.

“When we come into power the society will not pay salaries to the employees of the Public Broadcaster, if they continue to oppose the public opinion that was demonstrated by Kvesitadze,” Ivanishvili said at 28 May press-conference.  “If they do not change and do not coincide with the public opinion, they will not be funded. We all know very well how these liar channels are funded now.  Their managers are stealing money from the society and fund providing society with disinformation.  80% of today’s media relies on the false.”

GPB evaluated Ivanishvili’s statement as an attempt to selfishly change funding procedures, to openly blackmail and interfere in the editorial policy during the pre-election period.

“Apparently, Ivanishvili wants the Public Broadcaster to be in exclusive service of his political goals.  It contradicts the freedom of media in general and the idea of the Public Broadcaster,” statement by the PB reads.

At the end of the statement the PB management gave several clarifications to Ivanishvili:  “Mr. Bidzina:  1. Anchor of the exclusive program is not an “announcer” (Ivanishvili said Eka Kvesitadze is an announcer); 2. Commercial advertisements at the Public Broadcaster, except cases envisaged by the law, have been prohibited at the Public Broadcaster since 2011.” 

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