08 December, 2011


‘Mr. President, bring National Movement’ AD to ‘Maestro’!

Eka  Asatiani

As soon as two opposing forces clash on the political ring media is facing the threat of assault. The collision of already deceased Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili with Mikheil Saakashvili resulted in raiding of ‘Imedi TV’ and its dispossession from the owner.

Currently, historically important elections are approaching and pressure on media has increased. Initially fight resumed regarding the newspaper stalls and here, at least, it became clear who was fighting against whom

and why. But the situation in ‘Maestro TV’ Company is more complicated – the result is the same, the journalists are not able to work, although the reason of it is the confrontation between the founders and managing company. Are the authorities just observing and assessing the situation? The result is that as a sign of protest the journalists have already left the TV Company and main programs are aired from ‘Radio Maestro’.


When the conflict became somewhat aggravated, Bacho Kikabidze, General Director called the patrol police who for uncertain reason wouldn’t allow the founders to enter the ‘Maestro’ territory. Several points of view were expressed in this regard: first - Erosi Kitsmarishvili, the founder of managing company was acting in liaison with the authorities; second – willy-nilly he brought the grist to the authorities’ mill; third – the founders were planning to severe contract with the managing company, so Kitsmarishvili decided that he might lose considerable sum and there was nothing else left for him but climbing over the TV Company’s fence.

Tea Sichinava (‘Maestro’ journalist): Editorial freedom is the main thing for me. Kitsmarishvili must say what made him do this. He entered the building with persons who aren’t ‘Maestro’ staff. I certainly have the faculty of analysis and can make conclusion but I can’t announce it publicly.

Shalva Ramishvili (‘Maestro’ journalist): I think Kitsmarishvili performed an unbecoming action - he climbed over the ‘Maestro’ fence leaving the whole TV on the other side.

Q. – Has Kitsmarishvili played the authorities’ game?

A. – I have my personal point of view in this regard but I don’t want to speak. It’s a financial controversy. . .

Q. – Do the journalists of the ‘National channels’ express their solidarity?

A. – There are no journalists working on ‘National channels’.

Erosi Kitsmarishvili declares that in the nearest future ‘Maestro’ (probably ‘Maestro’-2) will go on the air.

Bustle broke out after the newly turned-to-politics-billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili expressed his wish to buy the TV Company. It’s true that Kitsmarishvili has no share in ‘Maestro’ but the contract between the managing company and ‘Maestro’ stipulates that while the contract is in force, if more than 51% of ‘Maestro’ shares are sold, 25% of the obtained sum belongs to the managing company.

Dimitri Gabunia, ‘Maestro’ lawyer: ‘The managing company didn’t pay debts, salaries, communal dues; unpaid sums accrued with regard to ‘Mir’ TV Company and they sued us at the Moscow city court. We certainly informed Kitsmarishvili in this regard in a written form. We expected provocations but we couldn’t imagine that he would climb over the fence.

Erosi Kitsmarishvili: The managing company took upon itself the obligation to attract USD two million within one year. The conditions changed in December-January of last year when Bekauri and Glonti staged a revolt. After this a new investment plan was drawn up and it was fully implemented. There is the act of comparison and agreement. We not only fulfilled the obligations but even pre-paid USD one million but this sum can’t be found.

Q. – What do you mean by ‘can’t be found’?

A. – It means that they have received the sum but it isn’t clear where it went. The claims started since the founders’ meeting with Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The Company, its concept, visual side was created by me; I brought my own money, sold my most precious things to save the TV. Whatever I do from now on,  will be aimed at punishing those who decided to cheat me. I promise this publicly; I’ll do it even if the arbitrator will be a biased person. It will do considerable damage to media but I won’t let anybody, even Bidzina Ivanishvili to impose something upon me. I will win this litigation! And together with me Georgian media will also be victorious.

Q. – The regulatory commission spread information that ‘Maestro’ license doesn’t belong to you.

A. – No, the license isn’t mine. It wasn’t said either that the license would be taken from Glonti and given to me; but I will go on the air. I will say nothing in advance. I’ll very cutely go on the air. I won’t abandon ‘Maestro’ till the end of 2012. Misha Saakashvili is the only obstacle; most likely he will play a very bad game.

We spoke with Mamuka Glonty as well:

Q. – Erosi Kitsmarishvili says that he has completely fulfilled all undertaken responsibilities.

A. – In case he has fulfilled responsibilities let him address the court.

Q. – Kitsmarishvili says that you wanted to cheat him as you were planning to sell TV to Ivanishvili.

A. – I am sick and tired of answering these absurdities. No, ‘Maestro’ won’t be sold! Despite debts I agreed to restore the status quo i.e. Kitsmarishvili’s company could enjoy the old rights. I offered this to Erosi during the negotiations but he said there would be no concessions. It was Saakashvili’s and Irakli Okruashvili’s (currently fugitive ex-Minister of Defense) pre-planned special operation to close ‘Maestro’

Q. – Have you taken any money from Bidzina Ivanishvili?

A. – No, not a cent. If he offers I will take it by all means. I will take money from Saakashvili too.

Mr. President send ‘National Movement’s’ commercials to ‘Maestro TV’!


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