, TBILISI, Sept 5 – The television channel of billionaire Georgian tycoon turned opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili said Wednesday it had brought in ex-CNN news anchor Larry King as an adviser ahead of crucial elections next month.
King has joined the advisory board of the Georgian-language opposition channel TV9 which was set up by Ivanishvili as he seeks to oust President Mikheil Saakashvili’s governing party at the parliamentary polls, according to a statement issued by TV9.
“As a member of TV9’s Advisory Board, I hope to lend my voice to the cause of media freedom in Georgia,” King was quoted as saying in the statement.
It quoted King as criticising the authorities led by Saakashvili, who is facing his biggest electoral showdown in the ex-Soviet state since being swept to power by the 2003 Rose Revolution.
“As a journalist I am concerned that the government of Georgia is increasingly resorting to undemocratic conduct unbecoming of a democratic government by preventing independent media outlets such as TV9 from serving as an independent media outlet for the people of Georgia,” he said.
King ended his long-running CNN chat show ‘Larry King Live’ in 2010 but this year set up an Internet outlet for his interview broadcasts.
TV9 was launched by the opposition businessman in May this year in an attempt to challenge the dominance of channels seen as loyal to the Georgian authorities.