Ahead of the forthcoming 2016 parliamentary elections, the developments in Georgian media question the issue of pluralism in media and represent a topic of public interest.
Following the dispute concerning the property of Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company, which was assessed as the governmental pressure by the company's management, the decision to suspend political talk-shows on the second biggest national channel – Imedi TV raises reasonable doubts as to whether the ongoing process is free from political influence.
On August 29, "Imedi TV" issued a statement saying that the TV channel has temporarily suspended public-political talk-shows and will restore them in 2016 under the renewed format. The talk show host, Inga Grigolia who learned about the closure of the programs from media, believes that this was a political decision.
Media Development Foundation (MDF) believes that well-established public and political programs on national TV channels as well as any decision related to them is the subject of public interest. At the same time, we share the opinion that such types of decisions require stronger justification and explicit explanation and not the release of very limited information as was done by Imedi TV.
We hope that Imedi TV will give more clarity to its decision, explain to the public the reasons of closure of its political talk-shows days before the start of new TV season and ahead of forthcoming parliamentary elections and communicate its future plans to the wider public.