Ex-PM, Tbilisi mayor candidate Gakharia accuses Imedi TV of political bias ahead of municipal race

Per the survey of the International Republican Institute (IRI) Giorgi Gakharia is the second most liked politician in Georgia. Photo: Giorgi Gakharia/Facebook.

Agenda.ge, 09 Sep 2021 - 12:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

Former Georgian PM Giorgi Gakharia, who is running  for Tbilisi mayor in the upcoming October 2 self-government elections, has accused local TV channel Imedi of political bias and demands to be aired live. 

You (Imedi) do not cover our (For Georgia’s) activities or events and hide the reality from your audience. You invite everyone to be aired on your channel, ask them to talk about us and we are not even allowed to answer,” Gakharia’s Facebook post reads. 

Giorgi Gakharia resigned from the post of PM on February 18, 2021 due to a disagreement with the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and soon after in late May launched the For Georgia political party. 

The GD accused Gakharia of planning an alleged coup together with the largest opposition United National Movement (UNM) party, noting that his resignation ’was profitable for the UNM.’ 

Per the survey of the International Republican Institute (IRI) Giorgi Gakharia is the second most liked politician in Georgia after GD’s candidate for Tbilisi mayor, incumbent Kakha Kaladze.

This is not the first time TV channel Imedi has been accused of political bias from the opposition in the run up to the elections. 

The opposition European Georgia party on August 26 stated that Imedi ‘grossly violated the legislation’ by refusing to air their political advertisement due to alleged ‘hate speech content.’

Gakharia also said that Imedi first was repressed by the former ruling UNM party, noting that ‘now the GD is forcing the station to feed their audience with one-sided information.’ 

TV channel Imedi was founded by deceased tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili in the early 2000s and was raided by police in 2007, when he was stripped of ownership of the channel. Imedi was returned to the deceased tycoon’s family after the elections of 2012 when the GD replaced the UNM. 

Today the owner of the TV company is asset management firm Hunnewell Partners, the founding partner of which is Irakli Rukhadze, Imedi’s supervisory board chairman. 

32 per cent of Georgians trust the Imedi TV channel, IRI’s survey reports.