An editor-in-chief of the Georgian edition of Forbes, Revaz Sakevarishvili, said he was quitting the magazine citing “systematic attempts of censorship and meddling into editorial independence” by a publisher company.
Forbes Georgia was launched in December 2011 and its publisher is Media Partners Georgia, which, according to Forbes, “is a publishing house established by partners that have more than ten years of industry experience in Caucasus and Central Asia."
Sakevarishvili said in a statement on March 27, that the most recent case of “censorship attempt” by co-founder of Media Partners, Gagik Yeghiazarian, came when Forbes Georgia wanted to make Ivanishvili a focus of its next issue. Ivanishvili featured in the Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's billionaires earlier this month with an accompanying lengthy story profiling the billionaire-turned-politician.
Sakevarishvili alleged that after backing off from his initial attempt to “completely remove” story about Ivanishvili from Forbes Georgia’s next issue, Yeghiazarian then started “meddling” in preparing questions for an interview with Ivanishvili and after preparing a story, Sakevarishvili claimed, Yeghiazarian tried to “directly and roughly censor” the story.
Maia Mirijanashvili of Media Partners Georgia told Civil.ge on Tuesday that the company would put a statement in response to Sakevarishvili’s allegations on Forbes Georgia website on March 28.
Sakevarishvili suggested that Yeghiazarian’s “friendship” with Gela Bezhuashvili, chief of the Georgian intelligence service, was “largely” the reason behind “censorship attempts” from the publisher.
Former editor-in-chief of Forbes Georgia also said that his email correspondence with Yeghiazarian contains evidence to prove his allegations about censorship attempts from the publisher and would make them public “if needed”.