TBILISI, DFWatch – A Georgian billionaire’s opposition movement has launched its own TV channel.

Channel 9 started broadcasting April 30 and has been given a license by the National Communication Commission to broadcast via satellite. The broadcasting permit is for 24 hours a day and the channel may cover the whole country.

Channel 9 is also allowed to use cable broadcasting without having a license, after the Constitutional Court in April ruled that a permit is not necessary in order to broadcast through cable.

The owner of Channel 9 is Ekaterine Khvedelidze, the wife of the opposition billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who in October decided to become a politician and promised to remove the current regime through elections.

In January, 2012, Khvedelidze’s company bought Igrika, a TV company which was founded by director of the small, independent TV station Maestro, which was in the news last winter due to a complicated legal wrangling many believe started because Ivanishvili was considering buying it. (https://dfwatch.net/ivanishvili%E2%80%99s-secret-weapon-his-own-tv-station-32438)

Later Mr Ivanishvili’s partners reported that their new TV equipment had been damaged in customs, which was denied by authorities. https://dfwatch.net/ivanishvilis-tv-van-damaged-in-customs-36298

“Everything starts with a question” – this is the slogan of the new TV channel, which plans to open over 40 bureaus around Georgia. The channel has started what it calls a trial schedule with news at 21:00 presented by Natia Lazashvili, who is a famous Georgian journalist, but hasn’t been seen on screens for many years.

Representatives of Channel 9 has asked to all Georgian cable networks to carry their signal. They say they have received a positive answer from Magtistat and Global TV, which is owned by Ivanishvili’s brother, Media.ge writes.

Channel 9 is also carried by the satellite Turkstat, which means that about 20 per cent of Georgia’s population will be able to watch the channel via satellite dish.

The new channel may also be watched via the Internet at www.tv9.ge, and also has its own YouTube channel.