TBILISI, DFWatch — A TV channel controlled by the former Saakashvili’s government on Wednesday got a new director, who used to be former government official.
Rustavi 2 is considered to have played a major role during the Rose Revolution in 2003 and used to be called ‘television of the winner people’; however it fell under government control for latest years, highly censored and criticized for producing sheer PR for the government.
It is known for its involvement in several bombing and shooting incidents in the area close to the disputed Abkhazia territory, notably the Khurcha incident on Election Day in 2008, and has been criticized in a United Nations report for inflaming tensions by putting out incorrect news stories.
Now it has a new director: Nika Gvaramia. During 2004-2007 he was a member of parliament for the National Movement Party, and later was appointed as Deputy Prosecutor. Gvaramia was Justice Minister in 2007-2008 and later Education Minister until 2009. Then he resigned and left to study in the US, like most of those who resigned or were fired from Saakshvili’s government.
Nika Gvaramia replaces Giorgi Gegeshidze, who will remain a 9 percent owner of Rustavi 2. 51 percent of the company belongs to TV Sakartvelo, which is a channel showing movies and programs on military topics. 18 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of Rustavi 2 belongs to the brothers Karmanishvili’s, who are close personal allies of Mikheil Saakashvili.
Ownership of the channel has changed several times after the parliament elections, while founders of the channel want to go to court to fight in order to get back their own TV station.