GPB Rents Equipment from Ivanishvili’s Son for 372,000 Gel

State-financed Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) will pay Gel 372,000 ($149,000) to Silk Factor Studio, a company owned by Bera Ivanishvili, son of former Prime Minister and founder of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.

In particular, according to the terms of the tender that concluded on October 23, the equipment will be used for a political program to be hosted by GPB’s Maka Tsintsadze, a former anchor on Ivnashvili’s GDS channel. The GPB will rent the lighting equipment for the aforementioned TV program for 9 months, and will pay 346,098 GEL. This year the GPB will pay Silk Factor Studio 76,910 GEL, and next year – 269,188 GEL.

Furthermore, The GPB signed another contract with the company in September, which implies the renting of a generator, power cable and power distribution for 25,913 GEL.

The GPB said this equipment was needed for the October 21 local self-governing elections.

Silk Factor Studio, founded in February 2017, was the only contender for GPB’s public tender. The studio is headed by Goga Khaindrava, a director who recently created Herokratia, a TV series alluding to alleged misconduct under former President Mikheil Saakashvili. 

The current Director General of GPB, Vasil Maghlaperidze, served as Deputy Director of Metskhre Arkhi, a TV channel belonging to Ivanishvili; and after GD came to power, he was the producer of the program 2030 of Ivanishvili GDS TV. He was harshly criticized and accused of being the government’s favorable candidate during the GPB director’s elections in January 2017.

However, Maghlaperidze said he was politically impartial and would do his best to change the GPB for the better. 

Soon after being elected by the board of trustees, he presented his 2017-2019 action plan, which envisaged the closure of the majority of programs due to the financial crises.

This summer the GPB also ceased broadcasting joint programs with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) - Realuri Sivrtse(Real Space) and InterVIEW.

By Thea Morrison

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26 October 2017 16:15