The Georgian Public Broadcaster’s (GPB) board of trustees announced on December 14 competition to select new general director of the broadcaster, which became vacant after Giorgi Chanturia stepped down less than three years before the expiration of his term in office.
Potential candidates should apply before 6pm December 20. Shortlisted candidates will then be interviewed by the members of the board.
Giorgi Chanturia, who became GPB’s general director for a six-year term in August 2009, said on December 14 that although much had been done under his leadership, a failure to fully implement his own goals, among them “optimization” and introduction of a new structure within the GPB, was a reason behind his decision to resign.
GPB’s board of trustees said in a written statement that it accepted Chanturia’s resignation because unspecified “shortcomings” in the process of implementation of GPB’s strategic development plan caused “management crisis”; the statement does not elaborate details, but thanks Chanturia for his work.
There has been speculation in the Georgian press recently that the GPB was planning layoffs from next year as part of “optimization” plan.
In early November Revenue Service at the Finance Ministry has launched probe in GPB to find out why the broadcaster has GEL 3.8 million debt accumulated in unpaid taxes.
Chanturia said that his resignation was not related to ongoing tax probe.
He said that the Finance Ministry should decide in January whether to restructure the debt or not. “It’s an ordinary and usual process,” Chanturia added.
Georgian Dream coalition and its leader PM Bidzina Ivanishvili have long been accusing GPB of a failure to be “a genuine public broadcaster” and of biased reporting in favor of the previous authorities.
Chanturia has always denied the allegations, citing report from OSCE election observation mission saying that “only the Georgian Public Broadcaster offered balanced coverage of the [election] campaign in their newscasts.”