Georhia, Tbilisi, Sept 6 /Trend N.Kirtzkhalia/
Leaders of Channel 9, owned by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, issued a statement on the establishment of Council of International Advisers.
The Council consists of five members: Leslie Gelb - honorary president of the American NGO Council on Foreign Relations, a former international correspondent and page editor in the newspaper New York Times, Lee Hamilton - a former congressman, chairman of the September 11 and the former president of the Woodrow Wilson Center; Larry King - the former host of Larry King Show on CNN; George Margvelashvili - rector of the Institute for Public Affairs of Georgia, Robert Menard - French journalist and an internationally recognized defender of press freedom.
"Management of Channel 9 and each employee is pleased that the Board of Advisors includes such well-known and honorable people, international journalists, former high-ranking government officials and human rights activists. Broadcaster relies on board members, so that they promote and protect the editorial independence of the television channel, help to strengthen press freedom in Georgia, and protect the right to express an independent opinion or views," General Director of Channel 9 Kakha Bekauri said.
The council members also made statements. Larry King said he is proud that he became a member of the council.
"For me, as for a journalist and media commentator, protection of journalists' rights, freedom of the press and protection of human rights on a global scale are the cornerstone of my career. Channel 9, like any other organization on the dissemination of independent news, is facing unprecedented challenges from the Georgian government, which prevents its mission - to serve the people of Georgia, as a free and independent information and media source. Its young and idealistic staff deserves the support of the Americans and Europeans, who share its mission," King said.
Former Congressman Lee Hamilton said that Channel 9 is a new, important, independent voice that defends the rights of the Georgian population. In turn, Leslie Gelb has expressed concern about the "interference" of the Government of Georgia on the independent media with democratic values.
"I support the freedom of the media in Georgia as a member of the council," he said.
According to French journalist Robert Menard, Channel 9 is a good initiative, which attempts to offer truly independent information to the public.
"Membership in the Council is due to my desire to draw global attention to the challenges of hostile authorities with which the broadcaster faced," he said.
Giorgi Margvelashvili noted that his goal as the council member is to promote independent media and the development of democracy in the country.