The Georgian Public Broadcaster First Channel responded to the presidential administration’s assertion of unthorough coverage of the May 9 event in Atoneli Street.
Firstly, we would like to emphasize how thoroughly and extensively the public broadcaster covered the European days. The concert held on May 7 was broadcast live on the GPB First Channel in full. Detailed coverage information is provided below. It should be stated right away that the presidential administration did not apply to the GPB for the live broadcast of the event on May 9, which stipulates providing information about the timing, number of speakers, order of speakers, and other important details, without which the on-air program planning or its changing, as well as technical preparation, is impossible. In a phone call one hour prior to the beginning of the event, the president’s office informed the public broadcaster’s producer about its wish to have it live on air.
Although, the presidential administration provided us with neither accurate information about the timing nor the span of the specific episode (the speech of the President of the European Council). Live broadcasting requires careful planning, which is difficult in such a short period of time, thus making changes to the existing programming impossible. Due to these circumstances, the President’s address could not be aired live.
Nevertheless, it was thoroughly covered in the news program, which is available through the following links.
Furthermore, the GPB First Channel prepared numerous reports dedicated to the Europe Day celebration in the capital.
Furthermore, the GPB First Channel’s morning show prepared a preview of the May 9 event, inviting the adviser to Georgia’s President to speak in detail about the May 9 event.
Georgian Public Radio also extensively covered European days. Furthermore, the presidents’ speeches at the May 9 ceremony were translated and posted on the First Channel’s seven-language website, 1tv.ge. We also believe it is unacceptable for the Public Broadcaster to set a precedent of interrupting on-air programming based on a call made a few minutes before the event begins. This approach is only employed in times of emergency and exceptional urgency. The complexity of the television operation dictates that the presidential administration should have coordinated and agreed on the live broadcast of this event with the Georgian Public Broadcaster at least one day before, if not earlier.
However, the event organizers overlooked to do this and allegedly opted to blame their mistake on the public broadcaster. Finally, it is ultimately disturbing that Georgia’s President’s office has publicly accused the Georgian Public Broadcaster of failing to thoroughly fulfil its obligation regarding the promotion of EU integration defined by law, which has no ground or rationale and seeks to discredit the Public Broadcaster. While we should expect the President’s institute to protect and defend the Public Broadcaster’s independence guaranteed by the Constitution, we have the impression that the attempt to involve the Public Broadcaster in political processes is being undertaken artificially and on purpose.
We remind you that, under current legislation, the Public Broadcaster is accountable solely to the public and not to the political establishment. We see the broadcaster’s editorial independence as our greatest achievement and value.
Yesterday, the Georgian President’s administration addressed a statement to the GPB Board of Trustees and Director General.