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SOS – Media in Danger

21.12.2011

Media.ge

SOS – Media in Danger –journalists protested the intrusion of the head of the managing company into Maestro TV and the removal of booths following Tbilisi City Hall decision under the slogan. The rally was held at the Presidential Residence. 

“We came here to make the authorities implement their responsibility and drive Erosi Kitsmarishvili out of Maestro TV premises,” said Mamuka Glonti, co-founder of Maestro TV speaking at the gathering.

According to the Civil Registration Agency, Bacho Kikabidze, driven out of the building by Erosi Kitsmarishvili, is registered as a director of Maestro TV.

"Lawfully Bacho Kikabidze is the director of the Company but the police and Mikheil Saakashvili do not recognize him. We demand the execution of the law so that the journalists were able to enter the building and work on,” says Glonti.

On November 30 Erosi Kitsmarishvili, together with some of his security guards climbed over the fence around the TV company premises. The decision, he clarified, was made to stop the process which aims at assigning the TV company to business tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, founder of public movement Georgian Dream.

“Let’s say we hire Erosi who invested money into the TV Company. Then we found other investor who can bring us more income. Cannot we offer compensation to Erosi and let him go? That’s included in the contract. Nevertheless instead of climbing over the fence he could go and lodge a complaint to the court,” Glonti said.

Lasha Tugushi, editor-in-chief, Georgian daily newspaper Rezonansi, said the City Hall’s decision on announcing auction for booths is killing the press.

“There are no booths in the city and it caused problems for printed media. The government takes handmade counters as newsstands and quite expectedly they will make them die out too. I do not know if they want to publish the Iskra like Lenin did,” Tugushi said.

“Reading a newspaper is one of the traits of the city culture. People get used to buying papers in one place. I loved buying press at Bukia garden or at the Dolidze street corner, and now I do not want to buy their eggs instead newspapers; it is violence,” journalist Alexander Elisashvili of Kavkasia TV said.

On November 11, 2011the Tbilisi City Hall announced an auction to obtain a right to set up the trading booths on 1,000 spots in the streets of the capital city. 150 lots coincide with the spots where the newsagent booths were operating for years. The City has already ordered the owner companies such as Planeta Forte, Matsne and Elva Service to remove the aforementioned booths. The winning company will have a right to sell any kind of goods at the booths.

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