A new General Director of Rustavi 2 Georgian TV channel Paata Salia, announced the dismissal of several journalists. Georgi Gabunia, who insulted Russian President Vladimir Putin during a broadcast, was among the dismissed employees. According to Salia, the reason for the dismissal was a conflict of interest.
"The producer and host of analytical programs Eka Kvesitadze, the head of the information service of the channel Nodar Meladze, as well as several producers and presenters, including Georgi Gabunia, were dismissed from work," said the General Director at the briefing. Georgi Laperashvili and Nanuka Zhorzholiani were also dismissed from their jobs, reports Georgia Online news outlet.
Salia explained that the conflict of interest arose because the leading journalists of Rustavi 2 publicly announce the creation of a new channel and at the same time continue to work in Rustavi 2 TV. The General Director reminded that Kvesitadze informed about the work on new channel, named Main Channel, together with the former General Director of Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia.
Rustavi 2 TV channel was in the middle of the scandal after the speech of the host George Gabunia in his program PostScript on July 7. Then the presenter made offensive remarks about Vladimir Putin.
On July 8, the self-regulatory Commission of Rustavi 2 suspended Gabunia from work for two months. On July 18 the businessman Kibar Khalvashi became the owner of the channel. He dismissed Nika Gvaramia from the post of General Director of the channel and appointed his lawyer Paata Salia to this position.