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Ninth Channel to come on-air this April

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, March 6
Kakha Bekauri, the General Director of the yet-to-launch Ninth Channel, shared his plans for the television network on Monday.

Bekauri, who was previously General Director of Maestro TV, announced that the channel would soon begin broadcasting, albeit in a limited fashion. They are currently hiring personnel and negotiating with prospective journalists, but cannot give more details about the content or scope of the network.

Speaking of the obstacles the channel has faced so far, Bekauri said that the Georgian government is doing everything it can to hinder the launch of the new, independent broadcaster. Promising to make the new channel as free of editorial bias as possible, he said that a three-member council will ensure its independence.

“There were a lot of reasons why the Ninth Channel couldn’t get on air so far,” he said, adding that technical procedures for launching the channel are underway, with an expected broadcast date of April 1, 2012.

Vako Avaliani, Chair of the Our Georgia- Free Democrats press service, denied rumours about that party’s possible cooperation with the Ninth Channel. Saying he has not thought of returning to journalism in his three years of service with Irakli Alasania’s party, Avaliani spoke of the importance of launching a channel that will “spread the news objectively”.

Former editor of Rezonansi and current Georgian Dream initiative group member, Eliso Chapidze, also emphasized how important a new television network is to Georgian civil society. As she told The Messenger, people want to know when the channel will commence operations – and they expect to see “an objective broadcaster”.

Speaking as a citizen and a journalist, not as a party member, Chapidze said that the public has tired of disinformation spread through the national broadcasters, but it is up to the new network to prove that they serve the public interest.

She also noted that she hopes the Ninth Channel covers the entire country, not just the major cities.

Welcoming the new channel to the Georgian media market, independent journalist Nino Zhizhilashvili wished the company success. “Let them bring up new generations of journalists on journalism values,” she said, stressing the importance of objectivity and fairness in the media.

However, journalist Davit Paichadze is indifferent to the news. “Let them first start operating,” he said.