Brothers Gia and Levan Karamanishvili, owners of controlling shares of Rustavi 2 TV, said in a statement on June 11 that Nika Gvaramia, director general of Rustavi 2 TV, quit his position, though no official statement has been made on this issue so far.
The two owners, however, rejected reports that Gvaramia was dismissed by the company’s founders.
“Any such claims are either the result of lack of information, or a deliberate lie. Actually, Nika Gvaramia announced at the meeting, which discussed financial problems, that he planned to quit his post,” reads the statement posted on Rustavi 2’s website.
According to the statement, despite quitting, Gvaramia could “resume performing his functions in the TV company.”
The owners also commented on the current financial crisis in Rustavi 2, saying several weeks ago the founders and the director general agreed on a joint plan to lead the company out of the financial crisis.
“It is crucial to complete this plan thoroughly through optimization and control of management expenses in order to immediately meet salary requirements and commitments assumed by the company,” the statement reads.
Nika Gvaramia has yet to comment on the reports of his resignation.
Georgian daily newspaper Rezonansi wrote in its article released on June 10 under the title “Great Uncertainty in Rustavi 2 TV” that three days before Gvaramia and his deputy, Zaal Udumashvili, visited Kyiv and met with ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.
According to the same article, the issues of upcoming local elections and possible nomination of Udumashvili as Tbilisi mayoral candidate were discussed.
These reports were partially confirmed by Zaal Udumashvili, deputy director general of Rustavi 2 TV and anchor of its main news program Kurieri. He said he visited Ukraine, where he met with representatives of the United National Movement, including ex-President Saakashvili, and received an offer to run in the Tbilisi mayoral elections.
“Regretfully, I cannot say much today. I confirm that I received an offer to run in the Tbilisi mayoral elections, but I will probably officially announce my decision in the coming days. I have not made any decision yet,” Udumashvili told reporters on June 7.
On June 9, Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze also commented on the developments in Rustavi 2 TV, saying that the ongoing changes were connected with “political developments” and that it was important to protect the rights of journalists and media pluralism in the country.
“We have made a lot of statements over Rustavi 2 TV, emphasizing that we have no subjective interests towards this television. Certainly, there are some changes there and these changes are directly connected with political developments in the National Movement. For us, it is most important that rights of journalists and media pluralism are protected. This is our objective and the Parliament will carry out the process of monitoring in this respect,” Kobakhidze told reporters.
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