Chairman of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) Board of Trustees Emzar Goguadze said at 4 October briefing that he and other Trustees have been requested to resign from the Board. Goguadze accused Georgian Dream MP Irakli Tripolsky in putting pressure on him. Tripolsky denied the accusation.
Among those trustees who have been pressured Goguadze named Nino Danelia also. In an interview with Media.ge Danelia confirmed the fact of being pressured, but refused to name the person who requested him leave the Board of Trustees. According to Danelia, political independence of the GPB is important for her so she does not intend to leave the Board.
For today there are 7 members in the Board of Trustees as Parliament has satisfied Eka Mazmishvili’s and Avtandil Antidze’s requests for resignation. The Law on Broadcasting says that Board of Trustees is not authorized to make decisions unless a session is attended by 8 Trustees. The current situation means that the current members of the Board will neither be able to approve the GPB budget nor to elect the new Director General, which may result in financial problems for the GPB.
Media.ge recorded interview with Nino Danelia via social network Facebook:
What kind of pressure was put on you? You are not identifying the persons, but what did they tell you exactly?
- They categorically requested me to leave the Board. I don’t want to speak about details.
When did the pressure start? When did you contact you the first time?
- They first contacted me at the beginning of September.
Why did you or other members of the Board tell the public the moment you noticed the attempt of interference you’re your activities?
- I immediately wrote an e-mail to Trustees and asked them to execute their obligations and not to agree to any deal. I did not want them to become like Sakrebulo MPs who jump to another boat after change of government.
Eka Mazmishvili says there was no pressure on her. Despite that you think her resignation was result of certain pressure; Have you spoke to her personally?
- Yes I have spoken to Mazmishvili. I cannot publicize the conversation with her. That is her personal business.
When did you learn about pressure put on other Trustees? Did they speak with you about in private conversations?
- The Trustees themselves told me and those persons also told me that they were speaking with other Board members. That is why I had information from both sides; so I warned the Board.
Who may be interested in dismissing the Board and creating the crisis in the GPB?
- Those who want to create crisis in the GPB want to dismiss the Board before the legitimate process starts. Just to remind you, according to the law developed by the Media Coalition, the Board is to be dismissed in January and new elections will be conducted. Those who did not want to impose public control over the GPB and want political control could not wait for another three months. This is just their dream. GPB journalists speak to me not only about Koka Kandiashvili but also Nugzar Popkhadze and Chkhartishvili.
Why do the GPB journalists speak about them?
- Baratashvili agreed on issues with Kandiashvili; three independent from each other people told me about it. One of them personally witnessed such fact. Journalists also say that Goga Chartolani has telephone conversations with him. Not only journalists but Board members also speak about Popkhadze and Chkhartishvili.
So they attempted to interfere with the GPB activities?
What do you think is the solution to this situation? What can the Board members do?
- The solution is for the total number of Trustees to be counted not to 15 (it is counted that there are 15 members on the Board and in order to make decisions more than half votes; meaning 8), but to really existing 9 members. In this case, resignation of 2 Trustees will not make the Board passive. Meanwhile, this needs decision from Parliament and as I know Parliament will not gather until November. In November there will no point to think about the old Board. It will be better to immediately start forming the new Board.
How can the new Board be formed with an accelerated procedure? I mean the period before November.
- I don’t know; Parliament must gather and adopt amendment to the Law again.
You mentioned that according to the law developed by the Media Coalition the old Board of Trustees is to be dismissed in January and new elections must be held. How correct was making the given amendment in such form to the Law and postponing of the elections of the new Board until January 2014?
- Coming of the amendments into force in January was aimed at not tying the processes to political governance changes, which was correct.
And finally, can you tell us, which political force do those people who requested you to leave the Board represent?