Georgian TV channel suspends satire show after parliament chairman joke
Georgian TV channel Imedi did not air Vasiko Odishvili’s satirical programme VasMedia this past Sunday as per its usual schedule. This was reportedly due to a joke made at the expense of parliament chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, claim Liberali and Netgazeti, citing sources at the TV channel.
In the 30 September episode, Odishvili made a cartoon out of an announcement made by Kobakhidze, in which the latter stated that TV company Maestro is actually controlled by Saakashvili’s former ruling party, the United National Movement.
Maestro was the only opposition channel during Saakashvili’s tenure as president.
The programme’s producer Gvantsa Gordeziani denied this information in an interview with Liberali. Gordeziani says that the programme’s format is being changed, and that is the reason it did not air.
However, Imedi had announced earlier that the show would air per its usual time on Sunday, 7 October.
The programme’s author has not responded to journalists’ requests for comments.
Kobakhidze was asked in an interview today if he had any information as to whether or not the show was cancelled, to which he responded he did not.
“I don’t think the programme would be cancelled [because of that]. I don’t have any information about its suspension,” he stated.
TV company Imedi is the authorities’ main news outlet.
When the Georgian Dream party came to power in 2012, Imedi was returned to the family of businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili, from whom it had been taken during the presidency of Saakashvili.
After the change of power, Imedi changed its editorial position, as did many TV companies and media outlets who in former years served to promote the Saakashvili government. Over the course of six years a number of shows have been shut down and popular journalists fired for speaking out against the intervention of the government within the TV company’s internal affairs.