Georgian public broadcaster denies host censorship claims

The Georgian public broadcaster (GPB) has dismissed censorship claims by its host Imeda Darsalia, whose weekly analytical program New Week has not aired since December due to the broadcaster’s decision to revamp it.

In an interview with TV Pirveli, Darsalia said the reorganization was a decision “against” him, alleging attempts to censor “critical subjects” of the channel and claiming the existence of “blacklists” at the broadcaster.

After the last [episode of the] program, we were told that I was no longer the host of the show and that the show was ending in its current format. I do not know what [future] the format will be,” Darsalia said.

In his comments, Darsalia also alleged that the censorship came from management, saying he would take his case to court and “talk about all the details there”.

GPB published its response yesterday, calling the allegations a “targeted campaign to tarnish the reputation [of the channel]”, adding” not a single project was closed on the television channel, including New Week “.

The statement further states that the broadcaster will present an “updated format” of the program “on which the New Week team is [currently] working.” The response also said the company has adhered to its “strict editorial principles and media standards in a radically polarized media environment,” adding “we [will] listen and bear complaints, but not insults.

In 2011, Darsalia was a spokesperson for the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The New Week TV show first aired in March 2018.

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