Director of Gori-based television stations, Trialeti TV, was released from police custody after the local court fined him with GEL 400 for disobedience to police orders on October 7, reported Trialeti TV, which linked brief detention of its director to, what it called, “continuation of pressure” exerted by the authorities on the station.
Joni Nanetashvili, director of the TV station, was arrested after, as claimed by the police, he resisted to the police when the latter tried to fine him for talking on mobile phone while driving. Nanetashvili denied the allegation as a provocation. He said that he was physically insulted by the police.
Trialeti TV and its owner Badri Nanetashvili, a former lawmaker and ex-deputy governor, who is brother of the station’s director, has been embroiled in number of controversies in the past.
Badri Nanetashvili is a former lawmaker from the ruling party. He was sacked from the Parliament in 2006 on the grounds that while serving as lawmaker he was interfering in editorial policies of the Trialeti TV – the allegation which was also voiced at the time by the Public Defender’s Office. Shortly before his MP credentials were stripped, he quit the ruling party after accusing several senior lawmakers and then defense minister Irakli Okruashvili of mounting pressure on him over the TV station.
Badri Nanetashvili returned back to public office in early 2008, when he was appointed as deputy governor of Shida Kartli, region where Gori is located. He resigned from this post in March, 2010.
He told Tbilisi-based Maestro TV (Trialeti TV is transmitting Maestro TV's news bulletins in Gori) on October 7, that detention of his brother was part of the authorities' campaign to mount pressure on him and his TV station. He has claimed that pressure intensified after he declined an offer to sell the TV station for USD 6 million.