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Giorgi Baratashvili (center) was dismissed as the general director of Georgia's national public broadcaster (file photo)
The general director of Georgia's national public broadcaster has been dismissed.

The Georgian Public Broadcaster's Supervising Council voted for Giorgi Baratashvili's dismissal on September 6 for failing to perform an internal development plan.

Dozens of Baratashvili’s supporters protested outside the company's building while the decision was being made. The protesters accused the Supervising Council of being affiliated with outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili

Baratashvili had run the company for nine months. In December, he replaced Giorgi Chanturia, whom Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition had harshly criticized for his alleged affiliation with Saakashvili.

Saakashvili's United National Movement lost to Ivanishvili's coalition in parliamentary elections last October.

The decision to fire Baratashvili was made less than two months before the October 27 presidential poll, where candidates of Saakashvili's party and Ivanishvili's coalition are expected to be major rivals.

Based on reporting by Apsny.ge and Interfax
Georgia is leading in a press freedom index among six former Soviet republics included in the European Union's Eastern Partnership initiative.

The first results of a pilot project to study the index of press freedom in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, were made public in Kyiv on September 3. Moldova came second in the ranking, behind Georgia. Armenia was third.

Ukraine placed ahead of Azerbaijan and Belarus, countries with strong authoritarian trends.

The pilot project, designed to run for two years, has been conducted as part of a media monitoring project with the financial assistance of the European Union. The Eastern Partnership, an initiative intended to boost the EU cooperation with its eastern neighbors, was launched by the European Union in 2009.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani, Belarus and Georgian Services, Kyivpost.ua and Interfax

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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