The Failure of a Success Story: Reforming Georgia’s Public Service Broadcaster


  • Marek Bekerman


Georgia, public, service, broadcasting, media, reform, GPB, PIK, TV, radio


Georgia’s “Law on Broadcasting” was passed in 2004 to provide, among other things, a legal framework for the transformation of the country’s state broadcaster into the public service media provider. The law itself has been praised internationally for its progressive nature and presented as an example for other post-Soviet countries to follow. A decade later, and after a number of amendments, it is no longer seen as effective in ensuring that public service broadcasting in Georgia provides the expected quality and range of services, or can be immune to political interference. Since its birth, GPB has suffered from continuous crises and scandals, and has never been a major player in the Georgian media. There have been several attempts involving international organisations and institutions to reform and improve GPB, to elevate its status and increase its market share, but none of them have succeeded. Most of those efforts have been supported by the European Commission and the OSCE, with participation from such media organisations as the BBC, which had run a series of training and monitoring programmes until 2011. A comprehensive programme of editorial, managerial and structural reform at the Georgian broadcaster developed in 2011-12 was shelved ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections, and GPB has been in a state of semi-paralysis ever since. The article examines the state of public service broadcasting in Georgia and what could be done to improve it.

Author Biography

Marek Bekerman

Marek Bekerman has spent 25 years working in a wide range of jobs in the public service broadcasting sector, of which the last 10 was spent in international media development. From 1990 till 2011, he worked as a journalist, producer and editor for BBC News in London, and since 2004 has travelled extensively in the Former Soviet Union countries and the Middle East on media development and journalism training assignments. He has provided consultancy services for the European Commission, the OSCE, UNDP, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Council of Europe, Eurasia Foundation and other agencies. In 2011-12, he designed a comprehensive reform programme of the Georgian Public Broadcaster for the European Commission, and between 2010 and 2012, he coordinated international efforts to reform and modernise Turkmenistan’s media legislation and regulation. He was Project Director for the EC-funded media development project in Central Asia between 2007 and 2009, and journalism education expert for a BBC-led project to modernise media education in Ukraine in 2005-2007.


How to Cite

Bekerman, M. (2015). The Failure of a Success Story: Reforming Georgia’s Public Service Broadcaster. Global Media Journal - German Edition, 4(2). Retrieved from