Following the announcement of Salome Zurabishvili, supported by the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, who pledged to take on UNM-backed Grigol Vashadze, Imedi TV, one of the major national broadcasters leaning towards the government, has made a special announcement, pledging to confront the United National Movement.
“Pre-election period promises to be particularly heavy ahead of the second round, since on one side of the polls we have the UNM. Imedi TV and its owners have experienced what it means to have the UNM govern the country. Therefore, Imedi is changing its regular broadcasting schedule, so that the [UNM] regime does not return,” it said, adding that the channel will add a new political talk show and increase the airtime for the existing one.
“What would happen if the UNM candidate wins the second round?” the statement continues: “Grigol Vashadze says that he will pardon [ex-President] Mikheil Saakashvili, brothers Akhalaia, [former Interior Minister] Vano Merabishvili, Megis Kardava and all those, whose names are linked with UNM’s criminal regime, [with] violence, racketeering, seizing of the television station. For the first time since the 2012 elections [which brought the Georgian Dream to power] the UNM is very close to making their past the reality again. For this reason, Grigol Vashadze’s presidency is unacceptable for Imedi TV.”
Under the new management, it became infamous for the so called “fake war report”, an attack broadcast of 2010 that portrayed the Russian Federation taking control in case of opposition victory. It has been returned to Patarkatsishvili family in 2012. During the current election campaign, the prosecutor’s office has put a blame for planning Patarkatsishvili’s death on UNM officials.