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22.10.2012 19:11

PIK’s Journalists to Hold Protest Rally in Front of Parliament Building

David Mchedlidze

The journalists of the Perviy Informatsionniy Kavkazsky (PIK) (First Caucasus News), Russian-language channel of the Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB) are going to hold a protest rally in front of the Parliament building in Kutaisi.

PIK stopped operation on October 20 following the suspension of all of the contracts between GPB and the GPB third channel’s managing company Alania. The contract with TV company PIK, working on the content production, was annulled too. 

 “TV company PIK has been virtually closed down, it no longer exists,” said Ekaterine Kotrikdze head of the news service, “Up to 400 employees have lost their jobs.”

In the course of the October 25 rally, Kotrikadze said, journalists will be demanding audit inspection into the public broadcaster.

 “A special address was sent to the Parliamentary chairperson Davit Usupashvili and MPs,” said Kotrikadze.

 Even though, she said, the GPB third channel was handed over to Alania LLC for management, TV company PIK was commissioned, by the same GPB, to create content for the channel.

The contract between GPB and Alania LLC was signed on January 13, 2012. The Russian-language channel was apportioned approximately GEL 14 mln (USD 8,3 mln) for further operation.

According to Ekaterine Kotrikadze the funding provide in the contract was to secure the PIK’s operation until the end of the year.

Reporting on GPB on October 20 Gia Chanturia said the public broadcaster used to fulfill and is fulfilling all of the obligations (including financial liabilities) to the contractor company.

Gia Chanturia also added that the suspension of the contract was reasoned from the violation of obligations by TV company PIK LLC.

On October 15, 2012 some of the PIK employees, without agreeing with the GPB management, voiced protest, through the third channel of GPB, citing the delay with salary payment as a reason. In addition to this incomprehensible demarche the TV signal of the third channel was, in an unauthorized manner, transmitted via the satellite provider (Globalcast – Editor) the public broadcaster had terminated contract with. Consequently the public broadcaster the public broadcaster might face unexpected expanses,” said Gia Chanturia.

On the following PIK journalists made an open address to the GPB Board to call for response.

Journalists alleged Chanturia is openly trying to suppress and stifle fundamental human right: freedom of speech and expression.

Despite PIK’s closure the GPB third channel still airs Russian-language programs with the PIJ logo on.

 “These are the old programs being re-aired. Broadcasting is being on independently from us,” said Ekaterine Kotrikadze.

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