Kibar Khalvashi: Rustavi 2 Journalists Made Emotional Decision

Kibar Khalvashi, the current owner of Rustavi 2 TV Broadcaster, has once again responded to recent developments around the TV channel, namely, the decision of leading journalists of Rustavi 2 to leave their workplaces in protest after Paata Salia, the new Director-General, fired the Head of TV’s News Department, Nodar Meladze, and TV anchors: Giorgi Gabunia, Eka Kvesitadze, Nanuka Zhorzholiani as well as news producer Giorgi Laperashvili. 

Khalvashi said “the recent developments are yet further proof that former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and former Director-General of the Channel, Nika Gvaramia, were deliberately destroying the company”.

Khalvashi says that after financially damaging and destroying the Company, “Gvaramia started an unprecedented psychological attack on the staff".

“The public knows that we have promised Rustavi 2 journalists that we would not change the editorial policy. Although some people were fired from the channel for specific reasons, some employees perceived it as an attempt to interfere with editorial policy,” he noted.

He also added that former Director-General Nika Gvaramia, news producer Giorgi Laperashvili, host of a political talk show Giorgi Gabunia, head of news service Nodar Meladze and former anchor Zaal Udumashvili were receiving additional financial benefits from the management.

Khalvashi assesses the prominent journalists’ decision to leave Rustavi 2 in protest as “emotional move”.

“Unfortunately, many journalists made an emotional decision, which I hope will soon be changed when they are convinced that Rustavi 2 is not betraying its old tradition and stays as critical, fearless and independent as it was years ago until it appeared under the political pressure", Kibar Khalvash said.

The protest of journalists of Rustavi 2, namely the employees of the news program “Kurieri”, was preceded by the fact that new Director of the Channel and Kibar Khalvashi’s lawyer Paata Salia fired several prominent journalists and producers, including  Nodar Meladze, Eka Kvesitadze, Giorgi Gabunia, Giorgi Laperashvili, and Nanuka Zhorzholiani.

As stated by Salia, they were “in conflict with the interests” of the new owner and that they were openly negotiating with Nika Gvaramia, who has just established a new TV broadcaster - “Main Channel”.

Diana Jojua, the host of Rustavi-2's main news program, later announced on air she was resigning from the channel in protest. Her co-host, Mikheil Sesiashvili, also resigned.

Later, almost the entire team of “Kurieri”: Tamar Baghashvili, Mariam Gaphrindashvili, Davit Kashiashvili, Natia Gogsadze, Nino Samkurashvili, Nino Gazdeiani, and others left Rustavi 2 in protest.

On August 21, the employees of “Kurieri” news program posted the photo on the official Facebook page of the Company, depicting the empty newsroom without journalists, titled with only two words: “we left”…

Photo: Rustavi 2/Facebook

Related Story: Salia Fires Journalists from Rustavi 2

By Ana Dumbadze 

23 August 2019 12:41