Head of Government of Adjara Autonomous Republic Archil Khabadze talks about the necessity of appointing a temporary Head of Adjara TV and Radio Department; however, it’s still unclear who will hold that position.
“We need to appoint an acting Head in order to avoid financial problems for Adjara TV, the budget will be compiled and approved after that. If this can be achieved within a week I believe we will be able to include this issue in the budget” – Khabadze said on November 15 during the meeting held in Democracy Involvement Center.
He also explained why the candidate for the above-mentioned position was still unannounced. “The legal part of the draft law was prepared in such a rushed manner that we haven’t even started to think about the candidate, however, there are certain surnames and I’d like to stress that the person selected will be absolutely neutral” – he said.
During the meeting attended by representatives of nongovernmental organizations and media, the Head of Adjara Government spoke about the draft law, which envisages transformation of Adjara TV and Radio Department into a regional public broadcaster. Khabadze said the draft law implies selection of 5 members of Board of Trustees of Adjara Public Broadcaster through competition. After that 10 candidacies selected from the filed applications will be presented to the Supreme Council of the region by Adjara government. Members of the Supreme Council will select only 5 persons from the 10, which in turn will work on selecting the manager of the broadcaster. In this case the public will be able to participate in the selection of Board of Trustees members only as the government meeting, which will review the candidacies will be open.
Head of nongovernmental organization Democracy Institute Geno Geladze expressed his displeasure with the draft law. “I am categorically against deciding anything without active involvement of the public” – he said. However, he believes that the draft law is normal and more or less acceptable for the transition period because at the moment the most important issue is ensuring legal functioning of the TV and Radio Department.
“If this draft law is approved by the end of next week, then we will have a public broadcaster in January in Adjara” – Head of Legal Department of Office of Adjara Autonomous Republic’s Government Parmen Jalaghonia says, who headed Batumi branch of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association before the elections.
He believes that the new law on Adjara Regional Public Broadcaster must be approved within a year. Jalagonia doesn’t rule out that attitudes towards the existing draft law may change during this time.
Draft law on the transformation of the media outlet has already been sent to Parliament of Georgia, however, Adjara government says an amendment must be made to it, according to the suggested amendment, Adjara government will have the right to appoint a temporary head of the TV and Radio Department. “It will be just a temporary measure” – Archil Khabadze says.
The public discussion during which Head of Adjara government answered NGOs’ and journalists’ questions during 2 hours, mainly touched upon problems concerning environment protection, agriculture, public health, IDPs, animal protection and border issues. Only journalists asked questions about the future of Adjara TV and Radio Department.
The meeting was initiated by House of Free Journalists and Batumi Democratic Involvement Center. It was streamed live through Batumi Press Café website.