Arrested Global TV Property – Pressure on Free Media Business
28 June, 2012
Arrested Global TV Property – Pressure on Free Media Business

Global Contact Consulting LLC, a telecommunications cable operator company largely known as Global TV, faces moral as well as financial losses accruing to several millions as a result of improper property seizure on June 21, 2012. While Global TV files a lawsuit to revoke the writ on property arrest, the non-governmental watchdogs assess the property arrest as a political pressure on free media and hail Georgian prosecutors’ Office to apply to proportionate manners respective to all media companies. 

 

In the afternoon

of June 21, authorities started to seize satellite dishes from a warehouse Elite Burji where Global TV, the television provider in which brother of Georgian political tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili [leader of oppositionist political party Georgian Dream] owns 66.8%, appears to store as many as 70 thousand satellite dishes. The confiscation was approved by a court order stating that there was reason to believe that Global TV would use the dishes to bribe voters in favor of Georgian Dream.

According to the Prosecutor’s office website this reason was elaborated as following:  the Prosecutor’s office launched a criminal investigation against Global TV and Bidzina Ivanishvili for it was distributing satellite dishes “free of charge” in various regions of Georgia and despite the warning of Control Chamber of Georgia (CCG) the company has continued its practice. Therefore Prosecutor’s office requested Tbilisi City Court to seal satellite antennas in order “to prevent further commission of the crime”. The Court did approve the claim however nobody informed Global TV of the planned property arrest and the company learned it from media.

But this is just one point in the long rap sheet based on which non-governmental lawyers find the questioned property arrest illegal as it is implemented through breakage of procedures of the criminal procedural code.

Kakha Kozhoridze, a lawyer of Georgia Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), involved in the case from the very beginning, said the writ on property arrest did not include the signature of the judge initially that is essential to make the document legal; only second version of the writ exposed a colorless, scarcely visible signature that makes lawyers presume the paper was signed beforehand.

One of the key infringements is the property arrest can be applied only against the charged person whose crime is already recognized by court.

“Since the case is based on alleged bribing of voters and there is no person who committed the action there is no charged one in fact,” Andria Nadiradze, a legal advisor of Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) explained to Georgian Journal. “Moreover, property arrest is envisaged by law for especially severe offences sentening from 10 year to life imprisonment, while vote bribing falls in less severe offences sentencing the culprit for 3 years and property arrest cannot be applied for that. Considering the abovementioned facts, the ruling of the Tbilisi City Court on the seizure of broadcasting equipment of Global TVwas inconsistent with the legislation in force.”

Kozhoridze goes even further. According to him, the questioned property arrest restricted private property of the warehouse Elite Burji too for it was implemented within its territory with no legal writ on it.

This property arrest case is a follow up to the court decision that fined Ivanishvili by GEL 150 million [that was cut down to roughly GEL 74 million based on the Court of Appeals decision later] for vote bribing. CCG appealed the court by the claim that Ivanishvili allegedly has been bribing voters through his companies. The claim included several implications and installation of satellite dishes and receivers through preferential package in Georgian regions by Global TV that is the single cable operator in Georgia broadcasting the recently founded 9th TV Channel owned by Ivanishvili’s spouse, was in the package.

According to Zurab Bazladze, Marketing Director of Global TV, the company is a victim of political game that hampered the company’s development in regions now forestalled by competitors due to the property arrest.

The company offered installation of dishes based on 10-year payment in installments. It fixed GEL 4 as a monthly payment however exempted clients from the first year payment that CCG found non-commercial and aimed on vote-sweeping for Ivanishvili. However Global TV was not summoned even as a witness on the process. But after the court CCG warned Global TV to run business based on market prices. The Court of Appeals expertised the questioned business-plan and the experts company recommended revising of the business-plan: the lease-contract term was cut from 10 to 6 years and the monthly payment increased from GEL 4 to GEL 5.5. Economic analysts assure it was none of the CCG business to interfere in the private company’s business plan even if it is commercially non-profitable as far as CCG is responsible for the state-budget-based organizations activity alone. Global TV appeased to the recommendations but it could not escape the property seizure throughout the country that exposed Global TV to both financial and marketing losses.

“This was a business project to us, but situation developed in political facet. Political parties started making comments that irritated government and we turned out a victim of misunderstanding,” Bazladze said in the interview with Georgian Journal. “Our loss is much bigger than just of financial character that we faced by taking a GEL 5-6 million worth credit for financing the project that we cannot implement at the moment.  Other competitor companies are taking advantage now that we cannot go ahead with antennae installation at the moment, and enhance their business thanks to the business idea we dictated to the market in fact that is of crucial importance to us.”

Besides, it is restriction of information, Bazladze believes for other companies install antennas much slower than Global TV planned: 20 thousands instead of planned 100 thousand tentatively. Non-governmental watchdogs also think the Global TV property arrest is a pressure on free media that is more important in the pre-election period for Parliamentary elections scheduled this October.

GYLA as well as TI Georgia appeal to the Georgian Prosecutor’s office to ensure that all actions that affect media companies are taken in a transparent and proportionate manner.

“Any sanctions should be based on clear evidence and conducted in a way that does not limit freedom of the media. The Global TV property is arrested against the law,” Nina Khatiskatsi, a program manager at TI Georgia, said to GJ. “There should be a balance. There are many projects like pensions increase, students employment as well as free outside internet service throughout Tbilisi initiated by City Hall recently, the project that is implemented by private company in fact but it is associated with the City Hall name. All these also contain pre-election campaign context. There is no law to prohibit this directly but such cases should also be investigated.”

According to Kozhoridze, all restrictions on the freedom of expression protected by constitution must be based on law, especially in the pre-election period when people need all kind of information even contradicting each other and the Global TV antennas were supposed to insure this variety for it offered both so called oppositionist TV channels like Maestro or Kavkasia along with all national channels.

Print
Other Stories
0% commission and free delivery for 100 days - what is MRKT, which appeared on the Georgian market during the pandemic
0% commission and free delivery for 100 days - a Georgian startup created during the pandemic offers very unusual proposals to its customers.
Georgia Acquires Up to 400,000 COVID-19 Tests and 50 Ventilators With World Bank Support
With the World Bank's $80 million Emergency COVID-19 Response project financial support and mediation, the government of Georgia was able to procure 147 000 Rapid COVID-19 Antibody and Antigen Test Kits and 250 000 PCR Test, that will triple Georgia's testing capacity to 3000 samples per day by mid-July, - reports World Bank.
Georgian business associations establish Georgian Tourism Industry Alliance
Business associations representing various sector of the hospitality industry in Georgia agreed to establish Georgian Tourism Industry Alliance (GTIA).
IMF approves $200 million for Georgia
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund has approved US$200 million financing to Georgia to address the effects of the COVID19 pandemic.
Georgia will be one of the first to open tourist corridors, Economy minister vows
Georgia’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava pledged that Georgia would be one of the first countries to open safe tourist corridors with other countries.
Georgia’s GDP may contract 4%, the worst in the region amid pandemic
International Monetary Fund forecasts a 4% contraction of Georgia’s economy, which very much depends on tourism and money transfers.
Georgian retailers fight for survival as coronavirus pandemic continues
Pandemic has affected everyone worldwide, but one of the most vulnerable are retailers, those who depend on consumers and their spending.
Georgia remains the fifth in terms of budget transparency
According to the 2019 Open Budget Survey (OBS), conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), Georgia got 81 points out of 100 in state budget transparency, the Transparency International Georgia said on Wednesday.
Georgia to receive €1.16 million for agriculture development
Within the GRETA project, the EU, Sweden and Austria launched the Local Development Initiative (LDI), to create great economic opportunities in the organic agriculture sector for farmers, farmer groups, cooperatives, processing units as well as other actors along various organic value chains.
Products rotten amid nationwide lockdown in Georgia
Food chain security is becoming more and more important as lockdown stays in place and farmers cannot transport their products from one place to another.
Georgian government to spend GEL 3.5 billion within crisis management plan
Georgian government has introduced a crisis management plan that consists of different stages. GEL 3.5 billion will be spent to cushion economy but this amount does not cover the post-crisis recovery period.
Georgia to receive €183 million from EU to fight Coronavirus
Due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic of the coronavirus disease COVID-19, the EU has proposed a new package of macro-financial assistance.
Air traffic to be halted until May 22, GCAA says
Air traffic in Georgia will stay halted until May 22, 2020, Georgian Civil Aviation Agency says in a statement.
Georgian PM discusses support packages from ADB, EBRD
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia held a video conference with the presidents of the EBRD and ADB regarding the possible assistance and financial resources to be allocated to Georgia due to the challenges associated with the global pandemic.
EBRD to provide €1 billion to Georgia, other countries
The EBRD and Georgia are stepping up cooperation as the country's economy faces the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak – says an official statement published on ebrd.com.
Government closes ski resorts in Georgia over COVID-19
The season at the ski resorts of Georgia closes ahead of schedule, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, Irakli Chikovani, said at a briefing.
Georgia will export armored vehicle Didgori Warrior
A new Georgian armored vehicle Didgori, equipped with a 120mm mobile mortar module, will be exported under the agreement signed between the Military Scientific-Technical Center Delta and one of the countries of the Middle East, the Ministry of Defence said.
Korter: Reliable housing property data in Georgia
It's not a simple job to find fresh homes. But when you use the estate choice service Korter, everything becomes distinct.
Rent a car in Tbilisi – Parent.ge
Are you thinking of booking the best vehicles for your next trip at a very reasonable price? If yes, then this is one of the best decisions you can ever make for yourself.
Pleasant Sunday for the whole family – Renewed Sunday’s brunch at The Biltmore Tbilisi Hotel
Summer, the season of endless fun and vacations, has ended and Tbilisi has become a usually crowded city.
GEL devalues, officials show optimism though
Devaluation of the national currency has sent shockwaves among citizens in Georgia. Officials think that the trend will return to its normal frame, though.
ProCredit Bank’s 20 years of challenges and successes in Georgia and what it means to be a responsible bank
“The bank’s 20-year long presence in Georgia was marked by many challenges and success stories.
Comments on alarming GEL devaluation
The National Bank of Georgia set a new exchange rate, according to which, dollar price became GEL 2.9507 on Tuesday.
Euronews and Silknet sign an MOU to launch “Euronews Georgia”
Euronews and Silknet, Georgia’s leading telecommunications company, are announcing the signing of an MOU in view of launching Euronews Georgia, a news channel and digital platform aimed at a Georgian-speaking audience.
Green Diamond starts to hand over flats to owners as second stage of construction finishes
Second stage of construction of Green Diamond living apartments by MAQRO Construction has finished and process of hand over of flats to owners has started.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
29.09.2020
30.09.2020
USD
1
USD
3.3203
3.3203
EUR
1
EUR
3.8708
3.8708
GBP
1
GBP
4.2819
4.2819
RUB
100
RUB
4.2140
4.2140
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
3.3203
EUR
1
EUR
3.8708
GBP
1
GBP
4.2819
RUB
100
RUB
4.2140
September 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30