The eight-party opposition coalition has announced it is to boycott Rustavi 2 and Mze TV stations.
MP Kakha Kukava of the Conservative Party said the two networks’ alleged biased reporting in favor of the authorities was the reason behind the coalition’s decision.
This protest, MP Kukava said, did not imply live interviews. “We will not refuse in interviews with these televisions if the interviews are aired live. But unfortunately our pre-recorded interviews and comments by the opposition politicians are aired with such an editing that our opinions are distorted,” Kukava said.
On February 16 Rustavi 2 TV itself said it was “suspending cooperation” with Levan Gachechiladze, leader of the eight-party coalition, unless the latter apologized for “insulting” statements against the television station’s journalist. Speaking on Rustavi 2 TV's live political talk-show, Primetime, on February 14, Gachechiladze referred to an unnamed Rustavi 2 TV journalist as “riffraff.”
Both Rustavi 2 TV and Mze TV are part of one media holding. According to documents submitted to the Georgian National Communication Commission, MP Davit Bezhuashvili’s [brother of Gela Bezhuashvili, chief of the intelligence department] Georgian Industrial Group owns a 45% share of both stations. The remaining shares in both Rustavi 2 TV and Mze TV are owned by GeoMedia Group. The only information available on the company is that it is registered in the Marshal Islands.