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Telavi Authority Continues to Oppress Local TV Company

24.11.2006
tanamgza_____.gifFinancial police raided Telavi Based TV company ‘Tanamgzavri’, tried to arrest its director, insulted and physically assaulted employees of the company during last two years. At present, the only independent company of the district, ‘Tanamgzavri’ was left without office in Telavi. Weekly TV program ‘Dialogue’ has not been shown for two weeks now.

Employees for the TV Company ‘Tanamgzavri’ left the office before court executors forced them out of the place. Long time argument between TV Company owners resulted into a verdict passed by the Georgian Supreme Court. According to it the building of the company belongs to Zurab Kumsiashvili, former director and one of the shareholders of the company.  He owned 40% of ‘Tanamgzavri’.

However, ‘Tanamgzavri’ has not ceased its activities and still broadcasts daily news program, ‘Macne’. However, weekly program ‘Dialogue’ has not been broadcast for two weeks now.

‘TV program ‘Dialogue’ was shown every Thursday. It focused on the most important events happening in Telavi District. Audience could watch the debates of the guests about current problems in the district and ask questions or express his/her attitude regarding the topic. The program lasted for an hour. Despite our urge, representatives of the local government categorically denied to take part in the program. However, we used to highlight topics. At present, the program has ceased its functioning; we do not have accomodation. We cannot say exact time when we should have office,” said Nato Megutnishvili, presenter of the program.

TV Company has found temporary shelter in the office of the NGO ‘Service Centre for Constitutional Right’s Kakheti office. It has only four rooms. As far as we know, board of the company has held negotiations with several people to rent accommodation for office. However, all negotiations failed. Vano Akhalmosulishvili, founder of the company and I had negotiations with several people to rent office. We had nearly agreed with the person who owned a place in old college. We had agreed on the price too; however, finally he refused. He said that if he signed contract with them he would have problems with people from District Administrative Board,” said director of ‘Tnamgzavri’, Enri Kobakhidze.

-Didn’t he tell you who exactly threatened him not to give you accommodation to you?

-Yes, he did. In private talk with us he told us his name, but officially he refuses everything. That person is Gocha Mamatsashvili, present Chairman of Telavi Municipality and former Temporary Governor of the District.”

One of the company’s founders, Vano Mosulishvili confirms the fact of failing the negotiations regarding the rent. He said that the company still looks for the office. However, everybody refuses to talk about the case with them. “They do not show interest even about the price we are offering them,” said Vano Akhalmosulishvili.

Regarding the charges, ‘Human Rights Center’s Kakheti office got in touch with Gocha Mamatsashvili, Chairman of the Telavi Minicipality.  “I do not care what employees of the TV Company say. Do they still exist…? Do not call me about such nonsense any more, I prohibit!” said Mamatsashvili and cut the line.

Lela Taliuri, Head of the ‘Young Lawyers Association’s Telavi Office is concerned and dissatisfied for the opposition between Telavi District Government and TV Company ‘Tanamgzavri’.  “It is very pity that ‘Dialogue’ has ceased its activities. I hope it is only temporary problem. Telavi people do need such TV Company and program. At least, it was the only independent media source in the district and aimed at highlighting local information objectively. It should be pointed out that the argument between TV Company’s shareholders goes on and I think local authority might support one of them in exchange of a deal,” said Lela Taliuri.

Giorgi Gelashvili, resident of Telavi stated that independent TV Company should work in the region. “Of course, we watch Telavi TV. We have information about their problems as well, but society is very inert.  Thus Gocha Mamatsashvili dares to do whatever he wants,” said the man.

Head of the club of the Kakheti based Non-governmental organizations, tinatin Pkhovelishvili warned Gocha mamatsashvili: “Who is mumbling and who is not, will soon be found out. I adivse Mamatsashvili to speak to independent journalists more politely until he is not detained. Besides that he should draw his attention to the conclusions of the financial police according to what some financial violations have been found in the Administrative board.”

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

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