- European Union, Council of Europe, United Nations, OSCE, US and European governments
The government of Georgia is trying to appropriate Imedi TV, the only independent TV Company in the country.
The TV Company, "Imedi”, owned by late businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili, was a famous independent media organization for many years. Following Patarkatsishvili’s death, members of a close governmental circle within the ruling party are taking control of the TV Company. Ina Gudavadze, the widow of the late businessman, stated that the station was seized from them and was assigned to a person who is not an heir of Badri Patarkatsishvili.
We are reacting to the uncertain situation about the TV Company ,,Imedi” and considers it as nothing more than an attempt of the Georgian Government to control the media and appropriate private property.
The Georgian government has been persecuting independent media organizations since 2004; that means censuring, shutting down and dispersing media companies. The attack on ,,Imedi” on November 7, 2007 by Special Forces police was particularly cruel. This ended with the closer and later suspension of its broadcasting. The fact that ,,Imedi” is deprived from the legal owners (the family of Badri Patarkatsishvili) means that the TV Station will continue to be suppressed by the government.
Consequently, it will become the trumpet of the Georgian Authorities and the protector of their interests, like other Georgian TV-companies. It is noteworthy, that Badri Patarkatsishvili was suppressed by the Georgian government to give up his TV Company during many years and now, after the death of the businessman the government wants to take control over Imedi.
Ina Gudavadze: “The government does not want a resumption of broadcasting of the TV Company “Imedi”. Self-proclaimed people who pretend to be the owners of the “Imedi” managed to bribe the government. They did not have the right to act in such as way because my family and I are the legal owners of the TV Station. We will appeal against all kind of attempts to appropriate strange properties in court. Since my family and I do not wish or intend to be involved in politics, I did not have chosen not to complicate the tense political situation in the country even more. All this time I tried to reach some sort of compromise with the government and negotiate with high-ranking officials, as well as with the chairperson of the Georgian Parliament. However, I have not received any reply yet. I am daring enough to resume the broadcasting of the TV Company “Imedi”; the international independent Media Company and cooperative management of the Board of Trustees will be the guarantee for the impartial activities of the TV Station. Badri said that “Imedi” is a trumpet of the free expression; it is an achievement of Georgian people and it belongs to them.
It is my duty to realize the kind will of my husband. The freedom of expression is guaranteed under the Georgian Constitution. Every Georgian citizen has the right to express his/her opinion and the independent TV Channel is the best source for them.”
Imedi TV, still the only TV station not controlled by the government is still off the air.
We, undersigned, call on the international community:
1) To influence the government of Georgia to restore property rights and to return TV Imedi to the family of Badri Patarkatsishvili;
2) To influence the President Mikheil Saakashvili and his government to stop the harassment of media;
3) To take measures in order to protect and save media and freedom of expression in Georgia.
The Support the Only Independent TV in Georgia petition to European Union, Council of Europe, United Nations, OSCE, US and European governments was written by Ucha Nanuashvili and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.