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Compiled by Londa Mindiashvili
Monday, July 6
Maestro TV company granted satellite broadcasting licence

Alia reports that the Georgian Communications Regulatory Commission has granted a satellite broadcasting licence to the Maestro TV company. It can now broadcast throughout Georgia for a period of 10 years.

Mamuka Ghlonti, the head of the TV company, refrained from making a comment after the decision had been made. However he told Alia that: “various reports by international organisations contain things which are not flattering to Saakashvili and his regime. Many things which can be seen even by a blind person are acknowledged there. These reports say that the other side are right and the Government is attempting not to act as badly towards them as on previous occasions. Therefore the Government has no choice but to grant us a licence. There is no law which gives them the right not to grant a licence.

“The fact that journalists are congratulating me on gaining a license is a clear demonstration that we live in an authoritarian country. Granting a licence to a TV company is a very ordinary thing in normal countries.

“I am one of the people who knows how to achieve high ratings with small funds. I am sure I will manage to do so on satellite and broadcast in this new format from 1 October. We want to establish an information channel which will broadcast 24 hours a day. I hope our people, businessmen and different international organisations will help us.

“In general, satellite broadcasting is possible if you have just over 5,000 dollars. That is not a huge sum for a TV company. We are in negotiations with two TV companies to raise this sum,” added Ghlonti.

The opposition will dress in white for Joseph Biden

Alia writes that after one of the opposition information rallies Goga Khaindrava announced a new initiative. Instead of organising a protest action during the visit of Joseph Biden, Vice President of the United States, the opposition should declare that on one specific day during the visit all citizens of Tbilisi will wear white clothes. Khaindrava said that by wearing white the Georgian people will be able to show Biden the Georgian soul and what their ideal is.

“White is the symbol of clarity, freedom and democracy so with white clothes the Georgian people will be able to demonstrate their wishes to the Vice President of the United States,” stated Khaindrava.

Russia tries to appropriate Georgian Railway

Rezonansi reports that Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, states that secret negotiations are underway about selling off Georgian Railway and these are being led by a certain ‘Sharangia’, a close friend of Saakashvili. The Ministry of Economy has denied this information, but it is known that ‘Sharangia’ owns a lot of shares in Georgia.

Rezonansi says that ‘Sharangia’ is a reference to Merab and Gia Sharangia and their father Lorenzo, who is a tycoon in Russia. Merab Sharangia works in Georgia. He is the owner of Beeline and the Kalakuri restaurant. The family also owns the Ushba factory.

According to Burjanadze as a result of problems in the budget selling off the railway has become more and more urgent for the Government. However Mikheil Machavariani, the Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, has responded to Burjanadze’s statement by saying that “I do not know who this Sharangia who Burjanadze talks about is. The one thing that I remember about the railway is that Badri Patarkatsishvili was interested in buying it.”