Inga Grigolia, a popular anchor of an Imedi TV political talk-show, said she was “astonished” by Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze’s silence on a police raid and closure of Imedi TV.
In an interview with the Georgian daily Rezonansi, published on November 9, Grigolia said that Burjanadze had requested a meeting with her last summer, during which Burjanadze condemned the policy of “boycotting Imedi TV.” Officials from the government and the ruling party had been refusing to participate in debates and political talk shows hosted by the station.
“She used her usual terms and expressions like “I am extremely alarmed and concerned” with the boycott of Imedi TV and said she didn't share the same position as other officials from the ruling party vis-a-vis Imedi TV. Half a year has passed since then but there has been no reaction from Burjanadze,” Grigolia said. “Moreover, I was astonished with Mrs. Burjanadze’s silence after she learned that Imedi TV had been raided… I was alarmed by the fact that Burjanadze, who has always been talking about democracy, did not speak out against [putting Imedi TV off the air]. I was really very sorry that Nino Burjanadze was not brave enough to express her position.”
In the newspaper interview Grigolia also recounted the events during and after the special purpose unit policemen broke into the TV headquarters in a suburb of Tbilisi late on November 7.
She said that armed law enforcement agents confiscated mobile phones from everyone inside the building. “They put some of the employees on the floor, including some women, at gunpoint,” Grigolia said. “Then they started to let us out of the office to where people were gathered.” She also said that TV equipment in the office “was destroyed.”
A spontaneous rally by several dozen people, living in the neighborhood where Imedi TV is located, occured outside the television station. Those present chanted: “Imedi,” “Imedi”, in protest at the forced closure of the station. Grigolia said that shortly after the station's employees went outside riot police appeared and dispersed the protesters, including some journalists, with tear gas.