The EBU have written to the Georgian Parliament regarding a bill calling for a “fundamental shift” in the funding model for the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB).
What does the bill call for?
Currently, GPB’s funding structure is based on a fixed percentage of the national GDP. The bill, which was passed as a draft law after the first reading, is calling for this to be changed to a fixed sum.
This decision would mean that the Georgian government would be able to annually determine the level of funding for the broadcaster, meaning the budget can fluctuate based on the wills of the Georgian government.
Georgia’s public media funding is already one of the lowest per capita of the EBU member states, with €4 average in the Caucasian nation, in contrast to the €45 EBU average.
What is the EBU’s position?
The EBU state that should the bill be adopted into law, it would undermine the Council of Europe’s standards for independent and adequate funding, their own funding principles which call for independent funding, as well as the proposed EU Media Freedom Act, which recommends multi-year funding allocations to prevent undue influence from annual budget negotiations.
The letter goes onto state that GPB plays a vital role in the nation’s democratisation, and shouldn’t be put at risk.
GPB plays a pivotal role in Georgia’s democratization process, particularly in the context of the country’s integration into the European Union. Altering the funding mechanism and level jeopardizes the development and progress of this crucial democratic institution. It seriously hampers the broadcaster’s ability to undergo critical digital transformation, relocate to its new premises, and fulfil commitments related to bank loans, acquired sport rights, and other content acquisitions planned years in advance.EBU Letter to GPB
The letter was co-signed by Reporters Without Borders and the South East Europe Media Organisation.
Georgia’s Eurovision Journey
Georgia’s history in Eurovision has been mixed since they began competing in 2007, represented by Sopho Khalvashi with “Visionary Dream”. Their highest placements – both coming in 9th – were achieved in 2010 and 2011, with Sopho Niharadze performing Shine and Eldrine with One More Day.
They have not qualified for the final since 2016, where they were represented by Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz with Midnight Gold. For 2023, former Junior Eurovision winner Iru represented Georgia with her song “Echo”. At the close of voting, however, Georgia failed to qualify for the final for the sixth year in a row. Iru finished in 12th place in the semi-final, earning 33 points from the televote.
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News Source – EBU
Photo Cedit – Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU