On 31 December 2015 all employees of TV 25 news service were fired by the management. Later it partly reversed its decision and fired only journalists Nino Kheladze, Jaba Ananidze, Irma Zoidze and the head of the news service Maia Merkviladze.
This decision was preceded by a briefing by the head of news service on 29 December 2015, who accused the TV channel’s management and owners of interference in editorial independence. Such statement was made by journalist Jaba Ananidze, who said that an owner requested that the journalist make his tone softer while reporting on Giorgi Chkonia – a businessman close to the government.
The conflict in TV 25 came after the story about arrest of an employee of the Adjara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, aired on 14 December. The arrested person is family member of the channel’s chief director, for which reason the chief director insulted and threatened the head of the news service Maia Merkviladze. 15 days after the incident, the management fired all employees of the news service.
The management of TV 25 and an announcement about hiring new employees. Meanwhile, the fired employees turned to Batumi City Court, claiming interference in editorial policy and violation of labor rights.
On May 17, 2016, Batumi City Court fully satisfied the claim of former journalists of TV 25: Irma Zoidze, Maia Merkviladze, Jaba Ananidze and Nino Kheladze. Accordingly, the court ordered that the administration of TV 25 shall return employees to their positions and fully compensate their salaries lost during the period of wrongful dismissal. The Claimants were represented by the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA).