The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) will launch its third channel, the Russian-language First Caucasian, in January targeting the audience in post-Soviet space with focus on the Caucasus region, chairman of GPB’s board of trustees, Levan Gakheladze, said.
“Some may view the goal of this new channel as counter-propaganda to Russian TV channels and I do not rule out this to be the case,” he told RFE/RL Georgian service on December 24.
“On the other hand this is a desire to export truth about Georgia,” Gakheladze added. “We want to report our truth to our target audience, which is very much interested in it.”
The new channel, which will go out on satellite and cable, will have regular news bulletins with 70% of news reports dedicated to developments in Georgia and the remaining to foreign affairs, including current events in Russia, including in its North Caucasus republics.
“We want to say truth about what is happening also in Russia – not only in North Caucasus, but also in Moscow,” Gakheladze said and added without specifying that number of “very prominent” Russian journalists had already expressed interest in cooperation with the new channel.
In earlier media interviews Gakheladze said that the new channel’s annual budget will be roughly GEL 3 million.
The 2010 state budget envisages GEL 22 million funding for the Georgian Public Broadcaster, down from GEL 25.5 million in 2009.
GPB currently runs two television channels – the First and the Second (the First Caucasian Channel will be the third one); it also operates two radio stations. Next year the GPB also plans reorganization of the Second Channel to switch its programming into a C-SPAN or BBC Parliament-type.
Gakheladze said that apart of the public funding, which GPB receives, the broadcaster also projected roughly GEL 6-7 million inflow from ad revenues, as well as from other non-public funds, including revenues from renting of various facilities it owns. GPB’s channels have no right to air advertisement during primetime, except of the cases when they broadcast sport events.