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Editors Doubt City Hall Initiative Will Restrict Spread of Independent Printed Media in Tbilisi

24.11.2011
Majority of newspaper editors believes that in order to save the printed media in the country they should unify. Newspaper “Resonance” interviewed the editors of various newspapers regarding possible close up of press-booths in the capital.

Dimitry Tikaradze, editor of the newspaper Alia, said the government intends to monopolize the distribution of printed media and the free media shall hinder it.

“Independent media shall consolidate. We should fight together in order to avoid the danger of hindering the distribution of independent media,” said Tikaradze.

Editor of the newspaper Akhali Taoba (New Generation) Soso Goginashvili also foresees the upcoming threat. “If the trend continues, it will be impossible to sell newspapers. So we should do our best to minimize this threat. Current situation is good neither for the printed media, nor for society and nor for the government,” said Goginashvili.

Editor of the newspaper Versia Maia Purtseladze said the government wants to subdue the printed media by controlling their circulation because otherwise they could not defeat them.

“The representatives of the free media shall work out plan to hinder those threats,” said Purtseladze.

Founder of the “Kviris Palitra” Irakli Tevdorashvili thinks the auction announced by the Tbilisi City Hall about newspaper booths will create serious problems for the distribution of newspapers.

“I think the problem must be resolved on the legislative level because we remember many similar attacks on media. As for this particular case, I think the distributer companies, which were instructed by the City Hall to remove their booths from the capital, shall have chance to continue their work for fixed taxes even if the City Hall demands them to install new booths. The press-distributor company shall not have equal conditions in the auction as the companies who sell drinks or Shaurma in booths,” said Irakli Tevdorashvili.

However, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “24 Hours” Paata Veshapidze cannot see any threat in the auction announced by the City Hall.

“I cannot see any threats in it. The more booths are placed in the city, the more newspapers will be sold. Those booths are installed not for newspapers but to sell any other products starting from Shaurma ended with shoes. So, I cannot see any threat there. Eating Shaurma will not prevent people from reading newspapers,” Paata Veshapidze said.

The Resonance interviewed the chairperson of the Regional Press Association Ia Mamaladze who said the government intends to close the space for the free media.

“We wonder why the government needs it. Because the printed media is less controlled. The government could not completely subordinate the printed media,” said Mamaladze.

According to the Resonance, the City Hall announced auction for trading booths mostly in the places where the press-booths are located.

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