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Don’t kill the press, Mr. President!2011-12-21 22:10
Georgian mass media have decided to get united into a trade union. This is a forced measure the mass media are venturing for they have no other chance. Georgia's entire media market is drowning in scandals with the authorities that put still more pressure on independent TV channels. Now there is a small Guri TV company that joins Maestro and Trialeti, veterans of the fight for freedom, as a subject of a property dispute. Another point of concern is problems with press distribution.
Georgian journalists want to create a trade union on the basis of a seemingly minor, though a rather important piece of news. An auction for new points of sales will soon be held in Tbilisi as part of "1000 newsstands" program launched by the mayoral office. Owners of old kiosks are forced to leave, and the majority of them depend on sales of newspapers. As a result, the press is likely to lose all distribution. Most part of the independent press is sold in Tbilisi with regions being closed for it - because of high transport costs. Now there is a threat that the market in the capital will be lost too.
"Don't kill the press, Mr. President", - is a slogan posted by six Georgian newspapers both in Georgian and English. Each new issue will have the SOS sign on it.
It is Mamuka Glonti, founder of Maestro channel that has proposed to set up a new journalist trade union. All his working time is spent on litigation with Erosi Kitsmarishvili, a pro-opposition politician. Maestro has seen a lot, but the situation when the press is pressurized by the opposition is something new. Erosi Kitsmarishvili, founder of the Georgian party and Georgia's former ambassador to Russia, has been living in the office of the TV channel recently. He knows: when he walks out of the door, he will lose all influence on the situation. He is trying to grab the TV channel from the group of journalists led by Maestro's founder Mamuka Glonti in order to make the channel a tribune for his own political force. This is particularly important now that the parliamentary election is near and the opposition does not have their mass media, while the whole information field is filled with materials on Bidzina Ivanishvili.