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Who owns Georgia’s TV networks?

By M. Alkhazashvili

(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Thursday, December 20
The government is still demanding evidence that business mogul Badri Patarkatsishvili has given up management rights of his opposition-friendly Imedi media holding. However, the ownership of government-friendly channels Rustavi 2 and Mze also remains unclear.

News Corporation announced on October 31 that following Patarkatsishvili’s decision to give financial backing to the political opposition, they would assume full management of Imedi for a year. Patarkatsishvili has since become a presidential candidate himself after a snap election was announced on November 8, prompting the government to demand proof that he is no longer involved in management of the media group.

Two companies, Geo Media Group and Georgia’s Industrial Group, own the Rustavi 2 and Mze television channels, according to documents submitted to the Georgian National Communications Commission, the newspaper Rezonansi reports.

Georgia’s Industrial Group was co-founded by Davit Bezhuashvili, brother of Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili. The ownership of Geo Media Group, which holds a controlling stake in the television networks, is unknown.

“The public must know who is behind these television stations. Otherwise we will assume state officials are controlling them,” Zakaria Kutsnashvili, who heads the NGO Law for the People, recently stated.