The decision of TV 9’s journalists and management to suspend the broadcasting until September 1 is unclear for PM Bidzina Ivanishvili. On August 22 Ivanishvili stated to Info 9 agency, that the employees had been aware that the television was going to be sold.
According to him, the buyer didn’t show up, yet the searching process hasn’t been given a public nature, in order to avoid unnecessary excitement, which “could cast a shadow on the television.” Finally, all the potential buyers refused to buy the television, which happened on Friday of August 19. I’ve spoken to Luba Eliashvili[ Director of the television] and came to an agreement with her, and explained that it would be awkward to make a statement after August 19. The reaction of journalists and management seemed strange to me, which is their shutting off of the television. Meanwhile I was being convinced that there had been those willing to buy the channel, which I doubt, but I’ll be glad in case such person really appears. The decision to shut off the channel has been a very strange act of their part.”- the PM stated. He added that “none of the employees of TV 9 had moved to the channel from BBC or CNN. The majority of them were unemployed, some hadn’t even been journalists at the time, and the fact that they have learned everything here is indeed notable. The channel has served them as a studio”- Ivanishvili said.
He as well said that the maintenance of the channel cost him USD 1 millions per months, and that in total he had spent USD 10 millions, which he did for journalists, so that they weren’t damaged. The PM stressed that Info 9 was a temporary project, and all the employees of the agency had been aware of it, but Luba Eliashvili made, however, an order to remove that part of his statement.
Ivanishvili emphasized the fact that the reaction of journalists was shocking to him. “They are now claiming to have been used, as if they’ve been working without getting paid, or was their salary lower than others’? Their salary was even higher for that matter, and there were plenty of employees. Now they say that I used them. That clearly shows that my decision has been right, and that the television couldn’t have been sustained any more.”- stated the Prime-Minister and stresses that “the reaction of journalists was unprofessional, and that in fact they weren’t professionals. Had they really been professionals, they wouldn’t have closed the television after my statement, as the viewers must be treated with due respect.”
Ivanishvili said to have commissioned a special group to take care of the issue of the television’s selling, and that as soon as the appropriate buyer appears, s/he wouldn’t be refused to buy it. “I think, however, that the current situation around the matter is nothing but pointless fuss.
FYI, the journalists made the decision to close the television on August 19, several hours after the statement of PM Bidzina Ivanishvili that in case the channel owned by his family weren’t sold by September 1, it would be closed.