Giorgi Baratashvili, who was dismissed from the position of Director General of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) on 6 September, sees political motives, namely, interests of the United National Movement (UNM), behind the decision of the Public Board of the GPB to fire him.
"We were about to launch new programs. I do not know how reasonable was for the Board to take such a decision just days before the launch of a new TV season and less than two months before the presidential elections. Taking such a decision in the run up to the [presidential] election smacks of politics. Under politics I mean the UNM because the [Public] Board is manned by the UNM," Baratashvili said on 6 September.
Earlier on 6 September, the chairman of GPB's Public Board, Emzar Goguadze, said that a day before Irakli Tsibadze, a security officer seconded to the GPB, approached him with a proposal to change his decision on Giorgi Baratashvili.
"Right at the start of the Board sitting, I recounted in front of cameras how I found the seconded security officer in my office, who, on behalf of his leadership, promised me everything, including a position of a minister, if I changed my decision [on firing Baratashvili]. I do not even know how he learned about my decision in advance. This security officer is Irakli Tsibadze; I did not even know that he performed this function in this entity [GPB]," Emzar Goguadze said.
According to him, Irakli Tsibadze is not an employee of the GPB. "There is a note saying that he comes here; he is not an employee but uses a car which is assigned to the Board," Goguadze said and added that he is not afraid of such cheap threats.
According to Giorgi Baratashvili, Irakli Tsibadze is an advisor to the Director General on security issues; however, Baratashvili said, he did not employ him but found him already working in the GPB when Baratashvili was reinstated to his position of Director General under the court order after his first dismissal by the Public Board in March 2013. "When I returned, this person was already working in the GPB. I did not bring him here," Baratashvili said.