Head of Georgian Public Broadcaster Resigns

Vasil Maghlaperidze resigned from his post as the Director General of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB).

In his statement of August 18, Maghlaperidze named possible doubts and questions around the impartiality of GPB in the face of the upcoming parliamentary elections as the primary reason behind his resignation.

“Although I am fully convinced that the 1st Channel will report upcoming elections and all other political processes impartially and without bias, considering that some might still call the impartiality of the channel into question for various purposes, I have decided to resign,” the former Head noted.

Maghlaperidze denied media speculations that his resignation may be connected to his return to politics. He said he will continue to work for “TV-School” – a project run by the GPB to fill the gaps caused by the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tinatin Berdzenishvili, Deputy Director of GPB, will now serve as an acting director until a new head is elected. She has held the post previously, following the resignation of Giorgi Baratashvili, the predecessor of Maghlaperidze, in 2016.

The competition to select a new director will be announced today and the selection process is going to last for a month and a half. Under Law of Georgia on Broadcasting, the Board of Trustees of the GPB appoints a Director General through an open competition for the term of six years.

Vasil Maghlaperidze was elected on the post by the GPB’s eight-member board of trustees with six votes in the second round of voting in January 2017.

His appointment then sparked criticism among civil society organizations and some of the GPB board members, mainly due to his alleged political sympathies and questions around his impartiality.

Earlier, Maghlaperidze has worked as a journalist until 1999, before becoming a lawmaker through the party list of then ruling Citizens Union party, as well as after quitting active politics. He was re-elected as MP in 2004 through the list of the National Movement – Democrats, but in 2005 he was appointed by then President Mikheil Saakashvili as the governor of Mtskheta-Mtianeti region; he served on this post for three years. After his dismissal from the governor’s position, Maghlaperidze served as the Head of the Department of Information and Politics at the Public Defender’s Office for a year.

In 2010 Maghlaperidze returned to journalistic activities. In 2012 he served as the deputy director of Channel Nine TV station owned by then PM Bidzina Ivanishvili and his family. From 2014 to September 2016 Maghlaperidze was the general producer of the main political talk show at by GDS TV, also owned by Ivanishvili’s family.

The annual budget of the GPB for 2020 is comprised of GEL 68,7 Million (USD 22.2 million) –  GEL 5,9 million increase compared to the previous year. Under Georgian legislation, the annual budget for the Public Broadcaster is calculated by 0,14% share of the annual GDP, explaining the growth of the allocated funds over a year.

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