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Another Georgian TV company becomes “political”2008-12-04 10:27
"Maestro", an independent TV station in Georgia has obtained permission to produce political programs. On December 2 Georgia's National Communications Committee decided on modification of the license issued to the TV company and from now on "Maestro" will be able to broadcast socio-political programs through cable network.
The litigation between "Maestro" and the National Communications Committee started in spring 2008 when the committee refused to issue a license for socio-political programs to the company's management. The committee explained its refusal by the fact that the license issued to this station entitled it to produce music and entertainment programs only.
As early as at the end of last year "Maestro" launched three new political projects -"Profession of a journalist" political talk show, "No comments" and "Poll" programs but after a while there came a warning from the Communications committee on the programs non-compliance with the broadcasting license type issued to the station. In spring 2008 "Maestro" management addressed the committee asking for the license modification but the request wasn't satisfied. Then litigation began as a result of which the claim of the TV station was not sustained.
The opposition too got interested in the station. A few days ago "Maestro" founder and general producer Mamuka Glonti stated that Georgia's ex prime minister Zurab Nogaideli insisted on acquisition of the majority interest in the company. "Zurab Nogaideli" demanded the control stock instead of the company's funding and got a firm "no". Even if I'm offered all riches of the world I won't sell "Maestro"s control stock at this stage until democracy starts ruling in Georgia", - Mamuka Glonti pointed out.
He also remarked that the TV company had its own conditions concerning possible sponsors. This is the preservation of the company's 100% independence and 100% liberty of speech. The board of trustees that governs the company rejected the ex prime minister's offer too.
"In case the TV company is funded through private sources - that is not totally transparent or political money - then I will not be able to work for such a company and will have to withdraw from the board," - a board member Ia Antadze, a popular Georgian journalist stated.
As the management states for the time being the journalists will continue to work on enthusiasm, without reward, as the company is moneyless. The financial issue is not solved yet but today the decision on "Maestro" license modification was taken.