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Statement of Human Rights Center about the Announced External Procurement of the Investigative Reporter by the Georgian Public Broadcasting


Human Rights Center echoes the project published on the webpage of the Georgian Public Broadcasting [GPB] on the Program Priorities of the LEPL Public Broadcasting for 2018-2021. Namely, it echoes the Paragraph 3.2 of the program according to which the journalistic investigation Investigative Reporter will be placed on external procurement and the GPB justifies its decision with the allegation that journalistic investigations shall not be carried out only over high-profile cases. 

Representatives of the Investigative Reporter confirm that abovementioned changes in the priorities were pre-conditioned by the investigative film, which they produced about the Khorava street teen-murder case “Blood-stained boys from the Khorava Street”, which was aired after many obstacles from the side of the GPB. At the same time, the GPB management negatively evaluated the film and named interference of state institutions as a reason of airing it and in parallel to that, before airing, the management sent the draft-version of the film to the state institutions. 

It is noteworthy that before elaborating the project on the program priorities of the LEPL Public Broadcasting for 2018-2021, the GPB management did not present the analysis of the work of the Investigative Reporter to the journalistic investigation team, which should have included the rating of the program, feedback, reactions, and concrete achievements in the field of human rights. 

For years, the Investigative Reporter was one of the highest-rated programs of the GPB. In 2017, as a result of the survey conducted by the new management, the program had the highest rating. The team has been awarded with many international prizes, including: in 2015 – EU Prize for the Best Journalistic Investigation; in 2016 – Winner of the GIPA –Freedman Competition; in 2015 – Winner of the Competition of the PRI; in 2017 – Winner of the Competition “Best TV-Program about Consumers’ Rights” which was conducted with the support of the EU. 

HRC believes that placing such a successful project of the GPB on the external procurement, which produces the high-rated product, raises doubts that it is the act against the activities of the investigative journalists. 

HRC supports the Investigative Reporter as free, impartial media-product and calls on the GPB not to restrict the activities of the journalistic investigation and ensure free working environment for the Investigative Reporter so that they carried out their activities within the GPB without obstacles. 

Georgian Public Broadcasting, as the institute operating free media, is authorized to respect the interests of media and the society. Consequently, it is essential that the GPB within itself ensured free functioning of the journalistic investigation so that the investigative journalists continued creation of impartial, comprehensive and objective products for the society without any obstacles. 

Human Rights Center 

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