Koba Davarashvili, who currently heads the advertising company Sarke, will become Director-General of the leading private television station in Georgia, Rustavi 2, replacing Nika Tabatadze.
Although Rustavi 2 television has not yet made an official statement on the appointment, sources from the station have confirmed the report.
The dismissal of Nika Tabatadze sparked the protest of Rustavi 2 TV’s journalists on August 26, and as a result news program Courier was not aired twice on August 26. After talks with Rustavi 2 owner Kibar Khalvashi on the same day, the news program resumed and an announcement was made that a final decision on Tabatadze's dismissal would be made in the next day or two.
The Georgian daily Rezonansi reported that Khalvashi, who is reportedly a close friend to Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili, decided to sack Tabatadze following an order from chief of the President’s Administration Giorgi Arveladze. But the paper could not provide any evidence to back up this allegation.
In her regular weekly analytical issue, Ia Antadze, a reporter of the RFE/RL Georgian Service, said that Tabatadze’s dismissal seems to be the result of a loss of balance that Rustavi 2 has tried to maintain between two influential Georgian political figures – Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili.
“Tabatadze was balancing between Vano Merabishvili and Irakli Okruashvili and was trying to cover developments about the Interior and Defense Ministries in an equally positive way… But now it seems that there is no need for balancing any more - the dismissal of Tabatadze means that the interests of Merabishvili will now be ignored by Rustavi 2. But this is only an assumption,” Ia Antadze said.