Nika Gvaramia, who was a government member till late 2009, became director general of the Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 television station.
Gvaramia was a lawmaker from President Saakashvili’s United National Movement party from 2004 till March, 2007 when he became deputy chief prosecutor. He then served as Justice Minister for about nine months in 2008, before becoming Education Minister, remaining on the post till December, 2009.
“I think Rustavi 2 TV remains one of the most balanced TV stations and it is very important for us, especially in the new [political] reality, to be very sharp-edged in [news] reporting. If anyone has any questions about my appointment, I assure you these question marks will disappear very soon,” Gvaramia told journalists on November 15.
Gvaramia replaced on the position of Rustavi 2 TV’s general director Giorgi Gegeshidze, who now owns 9% shares of the TV channel.
Rest of the 91% shares is owned, directly and indirectly, by Levan Karamanishvili and Giorgi Karamanishvili, who reportedly are President Saakashvili’s associates; they own 40% of Rustavi 2 TV shares directly and 51% of shares through their TV Company Sakartvelo.
Sakartvelo TV has no broadcast license any more after selling it to Foundation for Civic Education, which is a publisher of monthly newsmagazine Tabula, co-founded by Tamar Chergoleishvili, wife of Secretary of National Security Council Giga Bokeria. Tabula plans to launch TV station, tentatively in January, through broadcast license obtained from Sakartvelo TV.
Three co-owners of Rustavi 2 TV - Giorgi Gegeshidze, Levan Karamanishvili and Giorgi Karamanishvili, also co-own Mze TV station.
Rustavi 2 TV has changed hands for multiple times since the 2003 Rose Revolution and changes in its ownership structure was often related to political developments in the country.
Some of the previous owners of Rustavi 2 TV, including several of its original founders, have signaled that they would launch litigation with a purpose to reclaim ownership of the channel.