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At the ad hoc session of the Parliament of Georgia, held on 12 July 2013, a discussion was held regarding the presidential veto and his amendments on the draft law on Broadcasting. One of the four amendments proposed by the President concerned the dismissal of the members of the Board of Trustees prior to the termination of their terms in office.

In response to this amendment, Eliso Chapidze, MP from the Georgian Dream Coalition, stated: “In 2008 the President dismissed the existing Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) and appointed new members. This act had no roots in the law and was implemented based solely on the deal between the political forces.”

FactCheck

inquired about the dismissal of the Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster in 2008.

For this purpose we addressed Levan Gakheladze, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. According to his response, two trustees, Giorgi Khubua and Tamar Kintsurashvili, have left the board in 2005 because of being appointed to a different position (Giorgi Khubua was appointed as an Acting Rector of the Tbilisi State University, while Tamar Kintsurashvili was elected as a Director General of the Georgian Public Broadcaster). In spring of 2007 three trustees of the Board (Ghia Nodia, Alexander Rondeli and Nino Ananiashvili) completed their terms in accordance with the principle of rotation. In October 2007 Levan Tarkhnishvili left the board as he was appointed as the Chairman of the Central Election Commission of Georgia.

Consequently, by the end of 2007, only three members remained in the board– Rusudan Sebiskveradze, Pridon Todua and Mamuka Kherkheulidze. Since the Board had only three trustees, the process of decision-making was stalled and no meetings were held in the period from October 2007 till February 2008, when a new board was elected.

The existing legislation at that time did not provide for disbanding of the Board of Trustees, therefore, the three remaining trustees addressed the President of Georgia with a statement of resignation in accordance with Article 27 of the Law on Broadcasting. The same has been confirmed by Levan Gakheladze in the private conversation with us.

In order to fully comprehend the political context surrounding this issue, it is vital to analyze the statements made by the politicians at that time. In the beginning of 2008 Nino Burjanadze served as an Acting President. On 15 January she declared that political forces had reached an agreement regarding the reorganization of the Public Broadcaster. She also announced that the three remaining trustees were ready to give up their positions. Levan Gakheladze too confirms the fact that the reorganization of the Public Broadcaster had occurred based on the agreement between the political forces.

Eventually, the three remaining members of the Board of Trustees left their positions based on their statements of resignation, while the Parliament elected nine new trustees of the board on 26 February 2008.

Conclusion

In the beginning of 2008 Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster consisted of only three members. As for the other six members, three of them had completed their terms of appointment, while other three had been appointed to new positions. Under conditions of political crisis, the government and the opposition managed to reach an agreement on the entire reorganization of the Public Broadcaster. Rusudan Sebiskveradze, Pridon Todua and Mamuka Kherkheulidze left their positions voluntarily through their statements of resignation, in order not to get in the way of the process of reorganization. Thus, they have not been dismissed upon President’s arbitrary decision or command.

Accordingly, the statement of Eliso Chapidze: “In 2008 the President dismissed the existing Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) and appointed new members,” is MOSTLY FALSE.