Rezo Sakevarishvili, Forbes Georgia’s Editor-in-chief has resigned for an attempt of meddling into editorial independence and censorship exercised by Gagik Eghizaryan, founder of Media Partners Georgia, the publisher of the magazine.
Speaking at the March 28 press conference Rezo Sakevarishvili said Eghizaryan has had constant attempts to meddle into editorial policy but his recent attempt proved to be final. This time Eghizaryan demanded the interview with Georgian billionaire-turned-politician Bidzina Ivanishvili to be shortened.
“As an editor-in-chief I used to think Forbes Georgia was to focus its attention on the only Georgian in the Forbes World's Billionaires list,” said Sakevarishvili. The decision on the time of publishing an article about Bidzina Ivanishvili was reached following Georgian business tycoon’s appearance on the Forbes magazine cover.
“That was to be reflected on the Georgian edition too. I decided to prepare original material. For that purpose we were conducting an interview with Bidzina Ivanishvili for five hours since we considered the publication to be very serious,” Sakevarishvili clarifyied.
Initially, he said, the founder argued against the preparation of the publication, afterwards he wanted to take part in formulating questions, and eventually he demanded the interview ready to be published to be shortened.
Rezo Sakevarishvili cites one of the possible reasons of Gagik Eghizaryan’s attempt to meddle into Forbes Georgia activities - close interrelation with Gela Bezhuashvili, head of the Georgian Intelligence Service.
“He used to say to avoid publishing the material that might incite government’s rage,” says Sakevarishvili.
Forbes Georgia’s former Editor-in-chief, being unaware what manipulation the interview remaining at the editorial office might be subject to, decided to publish the material on the Kviris Palitara website, as well as IPN, ambebi.ge and palitra.tv. “Anyone will be able to read the article and find out what was to be censored therein,” says Sakevarishvili.
Rezo Sakevarishvili has already notified Forbes head office of quitting hi job. “In response they recommended to examine the issue within the editorial office. But since the magazine is ready to be published and I am unaware what is going to be published I would like to publicize it now, cause later there might be some questions I might not have answers to,” says Sakevarishvili and clarifies “Thus far I have not been unveiling everything since the price of the attempts of censorship has not been that high and I have been trying to keep the publication undamaged and my principles unviolated. Censorship has been subject to rejection. But the situation is different now.”
“Under the circumstances they usually say “I just want to have a rest” and now I understand how very precisely they express the way they feel. I also want to have a rest,” says Sakevarishvili.
The first edition of Forbes Georgia came out in December 2011. The distribution at launch of the 140-page monthly magazine was 3,000 copies. The magazine writes on Georgian as well as international business news. The magazine costs GEL 10. Thus far four editions have come out. with Facebook co-founder Sean Parker, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Irakli Gilauri, Director General of the Bank of Georgia and Osman Turani, Geocell’s Director General published on the magazine cover.
Founded in 1917 The Forbes is the world's leading business magazine with 20 international editions worldwide including Georgian.