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Imedi TV Says Rustavi 2 Spreads Disinformation

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, November 6
Private broadcaster of Georgia, Imedi TV says opposition-minded Rustavi 2 TV is disseminating false information before the runoff of the October 28 Presidential Elections.

Irakli Rukhadze, chairman of the Imedi TV Board said that the aim of Imedi TV is to oppose the disinformation spread by Rustavi 2 and make it much better than before.

Rukhadze made the statement at the protest rally against the previous ruling party the United National Movement (UNM), which took place this Sunday in Vere Park.

Representatives of society gathered in the Vere Park under the slogan: "No to the National Movement".

They say that the current presidential elections are not normal elections and society should not allow the return of the National Movement.

Participants of the rally called on people to go to polls in the second round of presidential elections and make a choice that will not allow the candidate of the National Movement to win.

The protesters agreed to hold a similar rally in the Vere Park on November 7 as well.

Chairman of the Imedi TV Board underlined that he supports the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) backed presidential candidate, Salome Zourabichvili, who, in the runoff, will oppose the UNM candidate Grigol Vashadze.

Rukhadze explained that the decision, to switch to emergency regime before the elections, was made after the statement of UNM-affiliated Rustavi 2 TV Director General, Nika Gvaramia, who claimed he would not let Zourabichvili win.

“The channel will try to oppose the disinformation spread by Rustavi 2 and dismantle normal, fair and correct information. And the emergency regime means that it should be done much better than we did before. It means we will have more news than entertainment," said Rukhadze.

Several days ago Imedi TV released a statement, saying pre-election period promises to be particularly heavy ahead of the second round.

“Imedi TV and its owners have experienced the negative effects of the UNM governing the country. Therefore, Imedi is changing its regular broadcasting schedule, so that the [UNM] regime does not return,” says the statement by TV Imedi, adding that the channel will start a new political talk show.

TV Imedi was founded by late businessman and oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili and it supported opposition demonstrations in 2006-2007 when the UNM was ruling. During the 2007 anti-government demonstrations the station was the most watched station and the only very critical of the ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s UNM government. It remained the only independent station in the country until it was forcibly seized by government troops in 2007 and then expropriated from its legal owners for criticizing the government.

Tbilisi City Court ruled on December 6, 2007, to unfreeze Imedi's assets – the last remaining legal obstacle for the television station to get back on air. The company's management stated that the studio equipment was badly damaged in a November 7 police raid. Later on December 12, 2007, Imedi TV resumed broadcasts thirty-four days after the television station was shut down. A criminal case against its co-owner, Badri Patarkatsishvili was launched however, Patarkatsishvili denied the charges against him claiming that they were politically motivated.

After several years of government control, it was returned to the Patarkatsishvili family in 2012, when the Georgian Dream came to power.