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TV Company “Imedi” Suspended Broadcasting

December 27, 2007

In the evening of December 26 TV Company “Imedi” suspended broadcasting because of current situation developed around Badri Patarkatsishvili, the founder of the TV Company.

Before shutting down the air, Giorgi Targamadze, the director of the Public-Political Programs, read the appeal of journalists who left the company.

“Recently TV Company “Imedi” has become the main target for political filthiness that is characteristic for pre-election campaign. We want to confirm that journalists and their family members became the objects of repression and blackmailing from governmental officials; during recent days TV channels controlled by authority create hysterical situation which stresses the employments of the TV Company “Imedi”. Regarding the current situation our journalists’ safety is in danger. We are thinking over the sources to rescue TV Imedi and one of our possible variants is the transfer total 100 % of its share to other person,” stated the letter.

Journalists think that the new owner might be the TV personnel or ‘public celebrities” who are much respected by civil society and nobody will cast doubt on their impartiality.

“Of course we will consider cooperation with our traditional partner News Corporation. The reality of new ownership is not an unbelievable perspective as a result of the consultations with Badri Patarkatsishvili and News Corporation. However, until new owner is not estimated we will suspend the broadcasting,” stated the journalists. Bidzina Baratashvili, Director General of the TV Station, defined that “we will get advantage of the time to restore the damaged apparatus in the company.”

“We agreed with the transnational corporation News Corp who is the owner and the manager of the Imedi shares that we would be able to renew technical equipment in the nearest future,” said Bidzina Baratashvili. He also recalled events on November 7, when Riot Policemen occupied the building of Imedi, shut down the broadcasting and damaged its equipment.

Today in the morning six journalists of Imedi TV made a statement on leaving the TV Company. A day earlier the General Prosecutor’s Office pyublished an audio recording of the conversation between presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili and Erekle Kodua, the head of Special Operative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The conversation was recorded in London in the villa of Badri Patarkatsishvili.

According to the audio-recording, Patarkatsishvili offers Kodua 100 million USD in exchange of his support in the plot planned by Patarkatsishvili.

Journalists who left Imedi TV state that “because of Badri Patarkatsishvili’s active participation in the recently developed events we cannot remain in the TV Company”.

It is not the first occasion when journalists leave the company in group. After November 7 nearly ten journalists left Imedi TV, Inga Grigolia and Eka Khoferia, the presenters of famous talk-shows were among them.