07TBILISI3011, GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO ALLOW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI3011 2007-12-03 12:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2123
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #3011 3371258
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031258Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8355
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 003011 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/02/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO ALLOW 
IMEDI TO BROADCAST AGAIN 
 
REF: TBILISI 2777 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
Burjanadze Calls on Courts to Allow Imedi to Open 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
1. (U) In a December 3 press conference, Acting President 
Nino Burjanadze instructed the Prosecutor General to ask the 
Tbilisi City Court to unfreeze the assets of Imedi TV. 
Burjanadze said she hoped the legal process would be 
finalized in two days, and that Imedi employees would be able 
to enter the station by December 5 and prepare to begin 
broadcasting.   Formal campaigning by presidential candidates 
is to begin that day.  Burjanadze said negotiations with 
Imedi and News Corp are continuing and that Georgian 
authorities expect a response by December 7 to conditions 
laid down by the government to allow the station to begin 
broadcasting.  (Note: As far as we know, the response 
prepared by News Corp to Georgian proposals and shared with 
the USG has not been delivered to PM Gurgenidze.)  Burjanadze 
added that progress to reopening the station could be speeded 
up if "there is a readiness from Imedi's side."  The 
government anticipates Imedi will need time to prepare the 
station and repair damage done during the initial November 7 
closure before broadcasting can begin (reftel).  Burjanadze 
addressed the general media environment in Georgia and said 
the press needs to cover all events adequately, objectively 
and transparently, follow ethical and professional standards 
in order to assist in carrying out elections democratically, 
and provide each presidential candidate equal broadcast time. 
 In her press conference, Burjanadze insisted that opposition 
predictions of an unfair election are unfounded and called on 
law enforcement to ensure stability and react to cases of 
violence appropriately. 
 
2. (C) Polish media omsbudman Adam Michnik and EU Special 
Representative to the South Caucasus Peter Semneby held 
meetings with Georgian government officials, including PM 
Lado Gurgenidze, Acting President Nino Burjanadze, and 
presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili, between December 
1-2.  Michnik told the Ambassador on December 2 the Georgians 
had made the fundamental decision to reopen Imedi television 
but did not provide an exact date for broadcasts to begin. 
EU representatives told the Ambassador the government had 
seemed to make its decision independently of News Corp. 
Gurgenidze had raised issues over "pinning down" the 
ownership of Imedi as part of the agreement to restart 
broadcasts, but Michnik bluntly told the PM it was more 
important to open the channel and "work out the business 
deals later." 
 
3. (C) Michnik told Ambassador he intends to create an 
Advisory council to monitor the media during the election 
campaign, separate from the Media Council created by the 
Georgian press and government.  Michnik refused an offer by 
the GOG to provide him with names of individuals to serve on 
the council.  Michnik intends to chose for himself 
journalists and academics from among those he knows.  His 
council will monitor the press and issue a weekly statement 
to point out problems and violations of European media norms. 
 There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but 
Michnik told EUR Assistant Secretary Fried via telephone that 
he is "cautiously optimistic."  Michnik left for Poland 
December 2 but plans to return for the reopening of Imedi. 
TEFFT

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