In a joint statement to the management, a group of Imedi TV employees expressed protest over the television station’s editorial policy saying that its news service was not covering ongoing developments in the country objectively, the Georgian daily Rezonansi, reported on May 5.
Giorgi Isakadze, chief executive of the Georgian Media Holding, which incorporates Imedi TV, told the Rezonansi that he was aware of this statement, but declined to comment citing that he was not informed about it in details. Bidzina Baratashvili, director general of Imedi TV, has also confirmed that such statement was made by a group of journalists and other employees, including cameramen.
“We believe that the Imedi TV’ news service is not covering ongoing developments in Georgia objectively,” the statement, reportedly signed by about fifty employees, reads.
According to the statement, at a staff meeting held in September, 2008, after the television station resumed news programs, the management has “banned journalists” to interview non-parliamentary opposition politicians and some opposition-leaning experts. Coverage of issues related with problems of displaced persons has also been banned, according to the statement, “under the pretext that it would have created ‘problems’ for the authorities.”
According to the statement, the television station’s management “blocked” to air statement by Patriarch of Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, on April 8, on the eve of launch of protest rallies, in which he called on the Georgian army not to use force against protesters. The Imedi TV employees’ statement says that two journalists of the television stations decided to quit in protest after the Patriarch’s remarks were censored.
In the statement employees also complain about the editorial policy of not covering cases of attacks on opposition activists, “while the video recordings released by the Interior Ministry are showed regularly, which only aims at discrediting the protesters.”
The statement calls on the television station’s management to take into consideration the employees’ complaints and take decisions by May 6.