Potential new Rustavi 2 CEO says editorial independence contracts should be concluded with employees

Irakli Imnaishvili said 800 employees remain at Rustavi 2. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 27 Aug 2019 - 13:22, Tbilisi,Georgia

The potential new Rustavi 2 CEO, Irakli Imnaishvili, says he wants to conclude contracts with TV channel employees to ensure editorial independence.

This would be a first in Georgia’s media history – we would like to create a precedent of a well-planned editorial contract,”  he said.

Irakli Imnaishvili said 800 employees remain at Rustavi 2.

Director General of the broadcaster Paata Salia presented BBC journalist Irakli Imnaishvili who has lived in the UK for years as the candidate CEO today.

He worked on Mze TV before he left Georgia.

Paata Salia unexpectedly dismissed head of Rustavi 2 information service Nodar Meladze, producer Giorgi Laperashvili and TV anchors Eka Kvesitadze, Giorgi Gabunia and Nanuka Zhorzholiani on August 20.

He said a conflict of interest was the reason for their dismissal.

Afterwards, Rustavi 2 stopped broadcasting the news in protest and the dismissal was followed by other journalists leaving the channel in protest.

The history of the ownership of Rustavi 2 is rather bumpy: 

  •          Established in 1994, the broadcasting company changed ownership 20 times between 2004 and 2012.
  •         In March 2017 Georgia’s Supreme Court delivered a verdict in favor of its former shareholder [2004-2006) Kibar Khalvashi, who had filed a lawsuit in 2015.
  •         A few days later the European Court of Human Rights suspended the enforcement of the Georgian Supreme Court’s verdict.
  •          On July 18, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights upheld verdicts of Georgian courts on Rustavi 2 ownership case and said the TV belongs to former owner Kibar Khalvashi
  •         Kibar Khalvashi dismissed Rustavi 2 Director General Nika Gvaramia afterwards and appointed his lawyer Paata Salia instead.