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Georgia's Imedi TV will resume broadcasts after it meets certain conditions
Georgia's Imedi TV will resume broadcasts after it meets certain conditions set by the government, the head of the country's National Security Council said on Wednesday

"The Georgian government has set three conditions for the Imedi management," Alexander Lomaya said. "These are financial transparency, a clear ownership and management structure, and compliance with journalistic ethics."

The independent channel co-owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili was shut down on November 7 amid mass anti-government rallies. Authorities accused the channel of inciting a coup.

Lomaya said: "Imedi will be able to resume work immediately after the conditions have been met."

The opposition has demanded the reopening of the channel, accusing other media of favoring Mikheil Saakashvili, who recently stepped down as president, in its coverage of the election campaign.

Lomaya said Imedi's ownership structure and scheme of financing were highly non-transparent.

Patarkatsishvili, who finances the opposition and will challenge Saakashvili in the January 5 early elections, has said he sold his 49% stake in Imedi to News Corp. in 2006. The corporation has declined to disclose its interest in the channel.

Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze said earlier on Wednesday that News Corp. Executive Vice-President Martin Pompadur rejected Georgian authorities' proposal on Sunday to buy out the television station.

Lomaya also said Tbilisi would compensate for damage caused to the TV station, when it was raided after police dispersed protesters, adding it was the only way to "deter direct calls for violence and unconstitutional regime change."

In early November, the ex-Soviet Caucasus state saw its worst political crisis since the 2003 street protests that brought Saakashvili to power. While backing Saakashvili's Western-oriented policies, the opposition accused him of amassing too much power, and blamed him for corruption and economic failure.


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