The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, a non-state, self-regulatory body of journalists, said that Nikoloz Laliashvili, director-general of Imedi TV, violated Principle 2 of the Charter and interfered with journalists’ editorial independence.
A complaint against Laliashvili was filed by five former journalists of Maestro TV’s program “Business News,” who claimed that in late 2019 and early 2020, when Maestro TV was part of Imedi Holding, Nikoloz Laliashvili, then deputy director-general of Imedi TV, told the employees on multiple occasions that he did not like the critical stories created by “Business News” against the government.
The applicants noted that Laliashvili “actually issued a directive on what kind of program they should create and whose interests should be taken into consideration.” Since the sides failed to reach an agreement, the program was last aired on February 28 and the team quit Maestro TV.
The Charter also released three audio recordings submitted by the applicants, where Laliashvili explains to his employees that the channel “has a clear anti-National Movement position,” calling on them to violate the principle of impartiality in journalism and naming Mtavari Arkhi TV and its director, Nika Gvaramia as key opponents.
Commenting on the issue, Laliashvili told reporters that the employees quit their jobs because business programs were closed on Maestro TV. He denied reports on imposing any censorship.