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Ivanishvili meets with media representatives

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 28
The role of the media, the upcoming parliamentary elections and Georgian Dream coalition's future plans concerning media development were the topics at a meeting between the coalition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili and media organization representatives on September 27th.

Ivanishvili stressed that when the coalition wins the parliamentary elections the Georgian media will regain its place as the fourth estate.

The coalition leader also promised the creation of a special commission consisting of various media representatives. Ivanishvili also agreed to meet media representatives once every three months if he becomes Prime Minister.

The meeting did not end without incident. The General Director of Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) Giorgi Chanturia was irritated by the questions and answer concerning GPB’s fate after the elections.

According to Ivanishvili the Public Broadcaster would become free and impartial after his coming to power, as “GPB is being financed by Georgian people and should not serve only one man’s aims and interests.”

In response Chanturia stated that GPB is recognized as an impartial and balanced channel by all Georgian and international organizations.

“Why did you call us, just to abuse us?” Chanturia asked Ivanishvili and emphasized that GPB's financing rule is determined by neither the Prime Minister nor Parliament.

“It is a process which has evolved independently of state structures and there are many countries in Europe expressing their wish to follow GPB's model in their countries,” Chanturia said before leaving the meeting as a sign of protest. Fellow representative of GPB, Levan Gakheladze and a member of Public Radio also left the meeting.

Ivanishvili also responded to The Messenger’s question concerning the new regulations set by the Central Election Commission (CEC) regarding restrictions on filming at election precincts.

Ivanishvili described the CEC's decision politically motivated.

Despite various financial, political and media-related problems Ivanishvili was sure that Georgian Dream will win the elections.

“Earlier I thought that the worst outcome the coalition might get in the elections would have been 40% of votes. However, currently I consider that the worst outcome would be 60% of total votes. I can state this based on that support which comes from Georgians towards the coalition.” Ivanishvili stated.

According to him the authorities will not be able to easily fabricate the elections’ results.

“We have studied all their tricks. If they do manage to fake the election results anyway I promise that no one will believe them.” Ivanishvili said.

The ruling United National Movement (UNM) is also sure in its success and unlike the coalition members, they have never called the impartiality of GPB under question.

According to President Saakashvili the elections will be the “to be or not to be” moment of Georgian statehood and he is sure that Georgians will take all achievements carried out under the current government into consideration on Election Day. He added that few Georgians would want to return to the country's dark past.

The President frequently describes Georgian Dream as a pro-Russian bloc that is aiming to drag the country back into the past.