Would Franco-Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili pressure the media? Yes, is the opinion of managers of GPB, the main Georgian state radio, pointing out his threats to cut funding to the broadcaster if the editorial does not change.
« GPB staff will not be fired, I am not threatening anyone, but journalists will change their speeches or they will no longer receive funding. » This sentence was pronounced at a press conference on May 28 by Bidzina Ivanishvili, businessman and founder of the « Georgian Dream » party, and it immediately angered many Georgian journalists who accused him of trying to put pressure on the media.
« Threatening to change the funding rules in an arbitrary way, or worse, to cut funding for public radio- it’s just blackmail, and a crude attempt to change the editorial line of GPB in perspective of the elections, » said a spokesman of the public broadcaster. “Apparently, Ivanishvili wants to see the public media lick his boot, which is contrary not only to the idea of freedom of the press, but also to public service values. »
In the same press conference, Bidzina Ivanishvili has also violently attacked Ghia Nodia, a university professor and former education minister. « When we will come to power-and we will… Ghia Nodia will no longer be heard. At his age, he will never leave his demagoguery… and with such demagoguery, it will be very difficult for him to find his place in a new society. »
These remarks were addressed with a smile, but clearly were meant to be taken as a threat of a witch hunt in the case of political change. Journalists and analysts are clearly listed, and they are aware of it.