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Candidate Gachechiladze Lashes Out at Rustavi 2, Mze TVs

Levan Gachechiladze, a presidential candidate backed by the nine-party opposition coalition, lashed out at Rustavi 2 and Mze TV stations after journalists grilled him about his ties with another candidate, Badri Patarkatsishvili.

?The only reason we had consultations with Patarkatsishvili was to convince him to withdraw from [the presidential] race; that?s all,? Gachechiladze told journalists at a news conference. He then slammed both Patarkatsishvili and Mikheil Saakashvili for ?playing dirty games? and emphasized that the nine-party opposition coalition has ?its own way, values and commitments? which have nothing to do with either Patarkatsishvili or Saakashvili.

When a journalist from Mze TV asked whether his decision to, as the journalists put it, ?disassociate? from Patarkatsishvili was as a result of the release of compromising video and audio tapes implicating Patarkatsishvili and his allies in an alleged coup plot, Gachechiladze replied angrily: ?What decision are you talking about? We have not disassociated ourselves from anyone. Do not try ? I mean Rustavi 2 and Mze TV ? to stick us to someone; we have had our struggle, our way and our election campaign and we remain committed to our values and commitments.?

?I want to ask, first and foremost, Mze and Rustavi 2: stop taking part in this dirtiness, otherwise many things will become clear about these two television stations after we come to power? I am not threatening you; I am just saying that Mze and Rustavi 2 always interrogate us like prosecutors do,? Gachechiladze added.

Other leaders of the coalition at the news conference were quick to clarify that the remarks were addressed to Rustavi 2 and Mze TV owners and not specific journalists. The opposition regularly criticizes both of these stations, which are part of the same media holding company, of bias against them.

Mze TV and Rustavi 2 TV are owed by Georgian Industrial Group (GIG) and GeoMedia Group. GIG, which owns a 45% share of both stations, is a giant company with diversified business interests ranging from coal mining and energy to travel. Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili?s brother, lawmaker Davit Bezhuashvili, has interests in the group.

The remaining shares ? 55% – in both Rustavi 2 TV and Mze TV are owned by GeoMedia Group. The only information available on the company is that it is registered in the Marshal Islands.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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