Ruling party lawmakers tabled on July 27 a draft amendment to the law envisaging increasing number of members of public broadcaster’s board of trustees from nine to fifteen, citing the need to make the board more inclusive.
Four out of nine seats in the board remain vacant since April after four members resigned in protest over the public TV’s, what they called, biased coverage of political events in favor of the authorities. The current board, with its former members, was composed as a result of an informal deal between the authorities and the opposition in February, 2008.
MP Pavle Kublashvili, chairman of the parliamentary committee for legal issues, who is one of co-sponsors of the initiative, said that the proposal would help “to increase participation of civil society and journalists” in the work of the public broadcaster’s board.
In his speech to the Parliament on July 20, President Saakashvili offered the opposition to re-arrange the current board of public broadcaster, wherein four seats would be allocated to members nominated by the authorities and four seats to the opposition-nominated persons. The remaining one seat, Saakashvili said, would go to a civil society representative.
“We should make these amendments within the next 90 days,” he said.
He also said that the proposal to give one seat to a representative of the civil society aimed at gradual “depolitization” of the public broadcaster. Saakashvili did not mention in his address plans about increasing number of board members.