The principal reason why I decided to run for the post of the GPB Director General is the dire conditions of information security in Georgia, which is of major concern for me being an information security specialist.
The Georgian information space has become totally insecure in the hands of the current government against the information warfare waged by Russia. Taking into account the best practice of the European countries, where the Public Broadcasters play an active role in the fight against disinformation and fake-news, I believe that the GBP as the largest multimedia platform in Georgia should provide a strong leverage to guard the Georgian society from the Russian information warfare and disinformation and to consolidate Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the country.
At the same time, by running for this post, I have put myself in a win-win position, whereby: if I succeed in being elected on the post, I will do my utmost to deliver a most popular, objective and successful television to the society; if the Government continues its practice of controlling the Public Broadcaster and forces the Board of Trustees to select a candidate to its liking, I shall still have my mission fulfilled by revealing to Georgia’s population and the international society the real face of the Georgian Government. Therefore, participation in this competition is the test to the Government to see whether it attempts to coerce the Public Broadcaster and to influence the decision of the members of the Board. This will be a kind of pre-election test for the Georgian Dream – the way it does in this test will be the same to how it is going to act in the elections.
Regrettably, it is already evident that the Government is going to try hard to have its favourite win the competition, but also it pays no attention to the public opinion regarding the elections of the Director General. This is proved by the denial of the Public Broadcaster to lend its airtime to the candidates for the post of the Director General so that they could at least explain to the society how we are going to spend GEL 102 million of taxpayers’ money paid to the Public Broadcaster.
The main reason behind this denial is the fact that the acting Director General of the Public Broadcaster Tinatin Berdzenishvili is running for the same post and by denying airtime to other candidates, she literally confirms that the Board was tasked by the Government to make her win the competition. Another proof is the campaign launched by the activists of the Georgian Dream in the Facebook.
Let me share with you some principal priorities of my vision about the Public Broadcaster:
Public Broadcaster – a powerful instrument to guard the Georgian society against the disinformation. In fight against the disinformation, it should provide the society with objective information through promoting media-literacy, critical thinking and ability to identify and nullify fake information sources. To this end, the Public Broadcaster should partner with the Facebook and Google, as well as its British and German counterparts.
Promotion of the united civic nation, a society, which is oriented towards progress and development: given that the goal of the information warfare is to divide the society into conflicting groups, to shake the trust into the public institutions, to seed frustration and despair, it is precisely the Public Broadcaster which, instead of division, must unite the nation and the society against the challenges, seed optimism and faith in the future and give them the right guidance.
Education for all: adapting the Georgian society with the requirements of the modern, innovative, technological era and transforming it into high-tech society should be the fundamental task of the Public Broadcaster. No one else other than the Public Broadcaster is in a position to educate masses of the Georgian society and deliver to them information about the modern trends of the fastest growing technologies and innovations, economies of future, challenges and opportunities, demands of the labour markets of future, future professions, etc. We shall deliver online lessons in artificial intelligence and programming. While making the shows, we shall use the latest technologies of Augmented Reality and Hololens.
Voice of the people in the Public Broadcaster: it implies diversity, regions, minorities, inclusiveness. The Public Broadcaster must reflect and display interests of all groups of the society. To this end, we shall avail more space for discussions, interactive dialogue, guests in the studio, feedback modes on TV as well as the radio. We shall increase the number of talk-shows, analytical programmes and debates about the international developments.
Investigative journalism: it should become a tool in the hand of the society to control the elected local or central government. We shall build a team of investigating journalists, who will permanently monitor the work of the local and self-government, as well as the central government, including the budgetary spending.
Last but not least, we shall ensure solid contractual guarantees to protect the journalistic freedom, as well as create a special fund for their social security and professional development, which will be funded from the millions of GEL currently used to support the cabinet of the Director General.