28 June, 2012

Last week the authorities organized another punitive action against their chief opponent – ‘Global TV’ stores have been temporarily sequestrated all over the entire country. On the basis of Control Chamber’s information, connected with the fact of bribing the electorate, the Prosecutor’s Office began an investigation. The end to this hysteria was put by the Parliamentary Speaker Davit Bakradze’s initiative who came forward with the proposal on opening the closed information space, thus soothing the people with a promise that

each cable TV would be obliged to air every TV channel. We discussed these and other important issues with Kakha Kakhishvili, political scientist, Director of the Center of Technology Studies:


K.K. – Legislative basis of Control Chamber is repressive and its decisions cannot be objective. The law must be identical for every subject, it can’t be selective. It’s unjust when the Control Chamber doesn’t notice ‘National Movement’ members’ meetings in restaurants; when Control Chamber displays no interest why ‘Alfa Com’ entered the loosing project precisely in 2012; when the Control Chamber pays no attention that one of the founding members of ‘Wissol’ group is oriented at Samtredia, financing free medical treatment only there; at this time, the Control Chamber is oriented only at the investigation of opposition’s activities and using strict sanctions against them.

The authorities created a legislative space in which it’s impossible to obtain a license for airing a signal unless you are the authorities’ supporter.

If previously the leverage used by the authorities amounted to closing of a business, imposing  high taxes by the revenue office, planting of weapons and narcotics, now they expand the scope of pressure by introducing monetary sanctions that enables them to make money at the expense of imposing huge fines. Instead of sending opposition to prison, the authorities gave preference to imposition of monetary sanctions that enables them to make money at the expense of big fines. By fining Ivanishvili, the authorities decided to conduct their election campaign, using his money.

Q. – Eka Zghuladze, First Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs declared that there is no connection between ‘Global TV’ satellite antennae sequestration and accessibility to media and that zero tolerance with regard to voter-bribing would continue. Afterwards the Speaker of Parliament voiced an initiative that cable TVs should broadcast every channel.

K.K.- How can the antennae sequestration not connected with limiting of free access to TV signal?

The authorities guessed that sealing of antennae in ‘Global TV’ store-houses would be reflected in the elections’ assessment that could be considered as pressure on free media and by this initiative they tried to balance the situation.

Q. – Last week after the meeting of the Association of Armenian fellow-countrymen with ‘Georgian Dream’ an eavesdropping device was found in a flower-pot. What do you think about it?

K.K. – According to Georgian Criminal Code, listening in is allowed when criminal lawsuit is brought against somebody and this decision must be made by the Court of Justice. Presumably, the employees of Interior Ministry who planted the device in the conference hall had no right for bugging it and thus they committed a criminal offence.

Q. – It’s interesting that Ivanishvili is going to name majority MPs together with the ‘Popular Forum’. How will the processes unfold after that?

K.K. – I think election results will take people out to streets. I don’t think ‘Georgian Dream’ will be content with the election results. The authorities won’t concede them 2/3 of votes in Parliament, using repressions and election manipulations. This will create basis for Ivanishvili’s coalition to take to streets together with people. This will force authorities to agree on the negotiations with the opposition. What will be the object of negotiations – holding of runoff at some election districts, agreement to set up a coalition government or redistribution of Parliamentary committees - is another topic. Anyway, I repeat that after elections we should expect shifting of processes to the streets.

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