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Rustavi 2 Talk-Show Anchor Quits Citing Pressure
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Jul.'06 / 23:20

Eka Khoperia, an anchor of a political talk-show Tavisupali Tema (Free Theme) aired by the Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV, announced during the live program on July 6 that she resigns, refusing to follow instructions from the authorities.

Sandro Girgvliani's high-profile murder case was the topic of Eka Khoperia’s talk show on July 6. Khoperia announced during the live program that she was instructed to interview Data Akhalaia, ex-chief of the Interior Ministry’s Department for Constitutional Security. Akhalaia he has been accused by the Girgvliani relatives, some human right groups and opposition parties of being behind the murder case.

“But the condition was that Akhalaia should have been last [guest] of the program; such conditions are absolutely unacceptable for me. Also I think that when such a murder [referring to the Girgvliani's case] occurs in the country at least the Interior Minister should resign. So this is my last program and I quit this television [Rustavi 2],” Eka Khoperia said.

After this statement, Khoperia announced an advertising break, but the program did not resume.

The surprise announcement by the popular TV anchor is a blow to the authorities, as public pressure mounts to prosecute police officials allegedly behind the murder, not just immediate culprits who were sentenced to eight and seven-year imprisonment.

Opposition already hailed Khoperia’s statement.

“This was a move which openly condemned government’s pressure on editorial policy,” said Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party, who was a guest of the Koperia’s political talk show.

The Rustavi 2 TV top management is yet to comment on Khoperia's announcement.

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