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Channel closure and potential buyers

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, August 22
After the statements made by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on August 19, discussion regarding the future of Channel 9 and Info 9 continue. As such, opinions have circulated regarding a possible buyer and price for the company.

Journalist, Vasil Maghlaperidze, proposed the idea of creating a joint stock company, going so far as even creating a page on Facebook entitled 'We are Buying Channel 9 and Creating a Joint Stock Company'. The page has already accumulated more than 4,500 followers.

"A year ago, the Prime Minister stated that he was ready to give the channel to journalists – our offer is just a modified version of the proposal; the difference being, now society will undertake a financial liability," Maghlaperidze said in an interview with The Liberal. He said that the process is completely transparent. “This is real democracy, and we must take very concrete steps,” he stated.

Journalist, Zviad Koridze, in an interview with Netgazeti, said that the channel sell-off is passing via force majeure. He thinks that no company should be closed in that form – especially a media company. “This should have been a prepared process. They should have announced an international tender,” he stressed.

Aside from political considerations, he cited the possibility of a low rating too. He also stated that the company will not be sold. “In a situation where the owner is begging for 1/3 of the price in selling the channel, it will be a very difficult process,” said Koridze.

Eliashvili also discussed the possible connection of Channel 9 with the Public Broadcasting channel. However, she also mentioned TV Iberia, closed in 2004, after the Rose Revolution. “Nothing is decided yet,” stated CEO.

President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, held a press conference, where he said Channel 9 TV was created for showing movies made by Director, Vladimer Bedukadze. “The staff of Channel 9 must not be offended, they were used for what they were needed for and then moved aside,” said Saakashvili.

With whom PM Ivanishvili carried out negotiations with on selling Channel 9 and what the price was, remains confidential. Ivanishvili's press office does not have information about this business deal.