Veteran journalist Inga Grigolia has announced her resignation from the post of deputy director-general of Georgia's Public Broadcaster to protest the decision not to air an interview with former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili, Caucasus Press reported on March 12.
Okruashvili was dismissed in November 2006, and in September 2007 accused President Mikheil Saakashvili in a long, live TV interview of tolerating corruption and mulling the killing of political opponents.
Okruashvili was immediately arrested, and retracted his allegations within weeks. He then left Georgia and has been granted political asylum in France. In March 2007, a Georgian court sentenced him in absentia to 11 years in jail on charges of extortion.
In recent weeks, leaders of the opposition Movement for a United Georgia, which Okruashvili now heads, have announced that he plans to return to Tbilisi to participate in the mass protests scheduled for April 9 to demand Saakashvili's resignation.
Grigolia was quoted on March 12 as saying she engaged in talks with members of Okruashvili's party about the possibility of arranging an interview with him via a satellite link.
On March 11, the Georgian newspaper "Akhali taoba" quoted Eka Beselia, who is secretary-general of the Movement for a United Georgia, as denying that she sought to extract from Grigolia a "guarantee" that the public broadcaster would air the proposed interview.