A new TV channel, planned to be launched in “the nearest future” by billionaire opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili, will enjoy with “full editorial independence”, Ivanishvili’s press office said in a statement on January 20.
On January 17 Aktsept LLC in which Ivanishvili’s wife Ekaterine Khvedelidze owns 80% and Ivanishvili’s associate Kakha Kobiashvili – 20%, has bought for GEL 20,000 a firm, Igrika, which has a license to broadcast political programming via cable networks and satellite. The purchase deal followed a month after Aktsept took over Igrika’s management rights.
“Journalists, which will work in the television station, will have full editorial independence and that will be reflected in relevant financial liabilities and guarantees in contracts,” Ivanishvili’s press office said in the statement.
“For that purpose it has also been decided to have a close cooperation with highly qualified international foundations and organizations in Europe,” it said without providing details. “We believe that involvement of these organizations in the process of formation of this new television station will further strengthen establishment of editorial standards similar to those in the democratic world in Georgia, which will become an important precedent on the path of development of Georgia’s independent media.”
In one of his first written statement released after announcing about his political plans, Ivanishvili offered owners of TV televisions with news broadcasting license that he was ready to buy TV channel for a price three times higher than its market value and to return it back to its previous owner after two years for a symbolic price of GEL 1.
Ivanishvili has once already run TV station in Georgia; the Channel 9, which was launched in 1999, was unexpectedly closed down by Ivanishvili in April, 2004 without providing reasons.