Opposition supporters rallied in front of Georgia’s state-owned public broadcaster (GPB) yesterday to protest “unfair coverage” of their campaigning, amid news of the resignation of the station’s board chairman. Board chairman Irakli Tripolski resigned yesterday, complaining of bias in the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s news coverage. However, today he withdrew his resignation.
“[The] law on public broadcasting says that the public TV should be objective and cover all the developments taking place in the country appropriately, but that is not happening,” Tripolski told online news source Civil.ge.
Most opposition leaders praised his resignation. They said a second board member also complained about the work of the Georgian Public Broadcaster but did not resign. “Tripolski gave every journalist an example of struggle in this unfair situation,” said Pikria Chikhradze, a member of the eight-party opposition coalition called the United Opposition.
A crowd of about 2 000 gathered yesterday afternoon outside the GPB building to condemn “biased coverage” of their protest the day before. The opposition accused the GPB of intentionally downplaying their rally, when about 10 000 demonstrators marched on parliament shortly after an Independence Day military parade left the area.
Opposition speakers said coverage of the rally came fourth in the lineup of the GPB’s primetime news programme that day, and claimed two earlier hourly bulletins were cancelled to avoid covering the demonstration. But Tbilisi-based media analyst John Horan said the rally was covered in all GPB bulletins from 12 pm to 8 pm, and was the lead story in bulletins from 1 pm to 7 pm.