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Complied by Liana Bezhanishvili
Friday, October 9
Second Channel reform raised in Parliament

24 Saati reports that Giorgi Tsagareishvili, an opposition MP, has raised the question of turning the Second Channel into a political channel in Parliament. He reminded Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze and President Mikheil Saakashvili that they had promised to do this.

Giorgi Tsagareishvili said that: “To make the happen both the Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary opposition must be part of this process.” David Bakradze stated that: “That’s why the blame for the Second Channel not being turned into a political channel lies with the non-Parliamentary opposition.”

Magda Anikashvili, a Christian Democrat MP, stated that: “To make the Second Channel the political channel hasn’t proved possible because the political spectrum is not mobilised on this issue, which is partly the fault of the non-Parliamentary opposition.”

The Alliance is concentrating on winning the elections

Versia reports that Pikria Chikhradze, Member of the New Rights and thus the Alliance for Georgia, has said in an interview: “As Alliance members our purpose is to show the people the opposition unity which the national television stations are trying to pretend does not exist. They are trying to discredit Irakli Alasania, but nobody must have any illusions that one of us will make concessions to Mikheil Saakashvili.

“Now is the time to strike for victory and that’s exactly why we have selected the ticket of Alasania and Subari to fight the local elections. Davit Gamkrelidze could also fulfil several possible posts and he has proved that if needed he can take concrete steps.

“Today we have to do everything to win. The ‘street front’ isn’t formed yet .We have had some talks with Nino Burjanadze but we don’t know what the ‘democratic front’ she talks about intends to do yet. People who say that taking part in elections is foolish actually think about doing so themselves.

“The opposition couldn’t have only one leader, but Alasania is a very realistic common candidate. I don’t think Levan Gachechiladze is intending to stand and I believe he is happy with this project,” Chikhradze stated.

Mamuka Ghlonti may be forced to close Maestro

Rezonansi reports that soon the TV company Maestro may no longer be available. Its Director Mamuka Ghlonti said at a press conference that member of the Georgian National Communications Commission Irakli Chikovani has been pressing for the suspension of its broadcasts.

“A large number of cable companies are being leaned on. I will not say which ones, to protect them, but I can say that nearly all the companies I have a contract with are been threatened. Their leaders have called me and told me that if they don’t switch off Maestro they will have serious problems. Therefore in the near future Maestro will be switched off, but this will not be our decision,” said Ghlonti, adding that he has already informed the US and French Embassies of this.

“If Maestro is switched off the cable companies may try to explain it by saying that Maestro was unprofitable for them. This would be absurd,” said Ghlonti. However head of the Press Service of the Communications Commission Khatia Kurashvili has stated that: “I will tell him [Ghlonti] that the Commission isn’t going anywhere or threatening anyone and there is no law we could use to force companies to broadcast or nor broadcast Maestro. They are absolutely free to make this decision themselves. The only law the cable companies must obey is that they can only broadcast licensed stations. Can Ghlonti quote a specific example of a company saying it had been threatened? We cannot respond to abstract charges.”

Rezonansi has tried to contact cable companies in Tbilisi but no one has been prepared to talk about this issue.