The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed grave concern after the Georgian House of Representatives announced its plan for a legal initiative to remove the minimum wage funding guarantee for the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB).
Currently, the funding of public service media in the country is warranted as a fixed percentage of the GDP, but with the suggested initiative the funding model would be changed and the funding guarantee removed. This would be extremely detrimental to the independence and functioning of GPB and would expose it to political influences and pressure. GPB would depend on yearly budget decisions, thus creating instability and potential partiality in functioning and reporting. It would also devalue Georgia’s efforts so far in ensuring sustainable public service media funding.
SEEMO calls on legislative and governing institutions in Georgia to drop this legal initiative and instead focus on strengthening both public service media and independent outlets, giving them more space to do objective, professional work and adhere to ethical guidelines of journalism.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.