Giorgi Targamadze, an anchor and head of the Imedi TV's political programs, said he was quitting the television stations and suggested he might make a political comeback.
Targamadze cited failure by "the both, managing company, News Corp. and the owner [Badri Patarkatsishvili] to resolve the current impasse." Targamadze warned recently that that most of the remaining Imedi journalists would only continue working at the station if Patarkatsishvili distanced himself from Imedi and gave "all the necessary guarantees that New Corp. would assume full responsibility" for managing the station.
"We have offered managing company and owner several options to help resolve impasse," Targamadze said at a news conference on January 12. "Unfortunately not a single concrete step has been done so far. It is not clear for me why the owner failed to do that. It is unclear why News Corp. took an ignorant approach."
He said that one of the options proposed by the staff to Patarkatsishvili was to hand over 2% of shares to the television's staff, with the remaining equally distributed between him and the News Corp. "In this scenario no one would have had majority of stakes," Targamadze said. "Unfortunately it was rejected and yesterday we were told that Patarkatsishvili was not going to give up majority shares into the television."
Imedi TV staff and management said on December 26 the television station was "temporarily suspending" broadcasts in an attempt "to distance ourselves from dirty political games" and in protest against both its owner, Patarkatsishvili, and the authorities. Many leading Imedi journalists had earlier quit.
At least three leading journalists also quit the television together with Targamadze on January 12.
Targamadze also said that at this stage there was no possibility for Imedi TV "to resume working in a way it did in previous years."
He also said that "speculation" about his possible political career was "close to truth." "But this decision does not only depend on me; I have to consider this together with family and the opinion of the Patriarch [of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II]," Targamadze said.
He also did not rule out possibility of his cooperation with a political party, which was announced this week by politicians, who are associated with Patarkatsishvili.
Targamadze's suggestion that he may go into politics is U-turn from his previous statement made on December 24, when he strongly denied speculation about his possible political career.
Speculation about Targamadze's possible political comeback - Targamadze was head of ex-Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze's party until March 2003 - has been rife in December, especially after the General Prosecutor's Office release on December 24 a covertly recorded video tape. Patarkatsishvili's ally MP Valery Gelbakhiani is heard to tell an Interior Ministry official that the decision on Targamadze going into politics "is already decided."