Bidzina Ivanishvili

Bidzina Ivanishvili appearing on ‘2030’ in 2015.

TBILISI, DFWatch–A pro-government TV channel in Georgia is suspending its political programs in the wake of a merger of the country’s three major mainstream TV companies, a local online news website reports.

GDS is closing down its ‘2030’ program, which makes strong pro-government reporting, writes, relying on ‘two independent sources’. The channel GDS is owned by Bera Ivanishvili, the rapper son of Georgia’s former PM, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Other news programs will be gradually eliminated from the programming in January and GDS will become a pure entertainment channel.

The background is a recent deal to merge GDS with the larger Imedi and Masetro. The deal will see Imedi, the second-largest largest TV company in Georgia, acquiring the smaller GDS and Maestro. Imedi is owned by Ina Gudavadze, the widow of the late billionaire Badri (Arkadi) Patarkatsishvili.

Imedi recently said it would make GDS into a pure entertainment channel, while Maestro TV’s management reassured its staff that it would not scale down its news reporting.