On June 23, 2016 staff changes were made to the the newsroom of Imedi TV. Maia Tabagari, the head of newsroom, was replaced by journalist Nana Lezhava. Tabagari became the consultant to the director general. Imedi TV journalist issued a statement regarding the replacement of the head of the newsroom. According to them, replacement of the head of newsroom in the pre-election period would cast doubt on the reputation and reliability of the TV channel and its employees, as well as the quality of freedom of speech.
At various times Nana Lezhava was Rustavi 2 TV reporter, one of the founders of the Movement for United Georgia political party, founder of GNS studio and anchor of TV3 news program.
On July 27, in a few days after the replacement of the head of the newsroom, Diana Trapaidze, the anchor of “Qronika Studio” left the TV channel. Since September, Trapaidze is the anchor the talkshow on TV PIrveli. On August 12, the anchor of the political talk-show “Politics” Teona Gegelia stated that she will no longer lead the talk-show and continue her work on the web-site of the TV channel.
Staff changes to the the newsroom was preceded by the appointment of Irakli Rukhadze as the the chairman of the TV channel’s Supervisory Board. For her part, in order to avoid conflict of interests, Rukhadze’s mother Natela Sakhokia left her position as the member of the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s Board of Trustees.
Rukhadze’s name was also involved in the issue of changing hands at Maestro TV. A 55% owner of Maestro TV, Giorgi Gachechiladze publicly stated that in order to solve Maestro’s financial problems he contacted the Patarkatsishvili family and his friend, Irakli Rukhadze who pledged to assist him. Irakli Rukhadze is the chief executive of Salford Georgia and remains affiliated with the Patarkatsishvili family. He is even believed to be an informal manager of Imedi TV. TV anchor, Inga Grigolia hints at Rukhadze’s decision when talking about the closure of her program on Imedi TV. Currently, Inga Grigolia runs her program at TV Pirveli.