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Media Institute and Human Rights Center criticize the election of Giorgi Kokhreidze in the Adjara TV and Radio Broadcaster

23.11.2019

 
On November 2, the Council of Advisors at the Public Broadcaster Adjara TV and Radio elected Giorgi Kokhreidze to the position of the director. At the first ballot, Kokhreidze received two out of four voices, but few minutes later, at the second round of the ballot, he received three voices and was elected to the position of the director of the Public Broadcaster Adjara TV and Radio Company for three years term. 

Nongovernmental organizations Media Institute and Human Rights Center are critical about the election of Giorgi Kokhreidze to the position of the director at the Public Broadcaster Adjara TV and Radio.

We believe that the Government was interested to conduct election proceedings non-transparently to increase its influence over the editorial policy of the TV-broadcasters. We also believe that previous statements of Giorgi Kokhreidze undermines the media pluralism in Georgia and indicates at the rude interference of the government in the editorial policy of the Public Broadcaster. It was clearly demonstrated by the fact that Giorgi Kokhreidze participated in all four competitions for the position of the broadcaster’s director. During the first two rounds he did not receive any votes; at the third round (August 22, 2019) he received two votes. Four out of five members of the Council of Advisors attended the fourth round of the elections. One of the four – Bezhan Gobadze refused to take part in the ballot. The fourth round was the final chance to elect the director by the former members of the Council because four of them will have their terms expired soon. 

The director-elect – Giorgi Kokhreidze, who was elected by the government-composed Council of Advisors composed by the ruling party, dislikes critical tone of the broadcaster. During his visit in the TV-program “Mtavari”, journalist asked him about recent aggressive attitude of the members of the government towards the Adjara TV and Radio, and Kokhreidze answered that the channel shall create comfortable environment for the respondents from the ruling party to encourage them to participate in the programs.

Media Institute and Human Rights Center believe that the abovementioned statement of Giorgi Kokhreidze undermine impartial editorial policy of the Adjara TV and Radio Broadcaster and his views raise questions over the concept of the Public Broadcaster. One part of the employees of the Public Broadcaster also see the threat of restricted editorial independence and made official statements with various broadcasters.

We acknowledge the particular role of the Public Broadcaster in the provision of the society with information that is guaranteed under the national legislation. Namely, the Law of Georgia on Broadcasting states that public broadcasting - broadcasting carried out by a legal entity under public law established on the basis of state property in accordance with the legislation of Georgia for publicly financed TV and radio broadcasting, independent from the state authority and accountable to the public, which is not subject to any state agency ('the Public Broadcaster') and which is intended .to provide the public with diverse programmes that are free from political and commercial influence and reflect the interests of the public. 

Media Institute and Human Rights Center support the importance of the independent and impartial editorial policy of the Adjara TV-Company. We hope, the new director Giorgi Kokhreidze will not interfere in the editorial policy and will not oppress the employees. 

Media Institute and Human Rights Center will monitor the work of the Public Broadcaster and will observe ongoing proceedings in it, particularly the format and content of the political talk-shows and news programs released before 2020 Parliamentary Elections, when the Broadcaster shall be critical and impartial towards all branches of the Government to provide the population with comprehensive information and implement its responsibility in front of the audience – informing the society as it is guaranteed under the law. 

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