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Complied by Keti Baramidze
Tuesday, May 11
The Writersí Union has retrieved its building

Kviris Palitra writes that the dispute between the Government and the Writersí Union which began in August, 2007 has come to an end. The Government sought to seize the Writer's Union building in Machabeli Street but following opposition rallies protesting against this President Saakashvili gave his word to the writers that it would be returned to them.

The recovery of the now-refurbished building was celebrated on May 7 with a ceremony in which several writers were given awards. Chabua Amirejibi, Revaz Mishveladze and Otia Ioseliani had the title Georgian Prose Knight bestowed upon them. Pridon Khalvashi, Jansug Charkviani and Anzor Abulashvili were declared to be Georgian Poetry Knights.



The prices of political ads have been greatly inflated

Kviris Palitra reports that TV advertisements have become incredibly expensive due to the forthcoming local elections. Advertising rates have risen but the opposition parties' economic conditions are the same. They donít hide the fact that their candidates are extremely short of money, and more so than ever before. The public therefore have sufficient grounds to believe that the advertising rates have been artificially inflated to prevent the opposition advertising.

Politicians, analysts and other commentators think itís unnatural that the prices of political TV ads almost equal those for commercial advertising during Champions League matches. At present a minute of political advertising on Imedi and Rustavi2 costs from 10,000 to 32,000 USD, the upper figure being the same rate charged for a one minute ad during Champions League matches.

As a result of this only Gigi Ugulava has bought paid advertising. But how can the present Mayor spend such sums on advertising himself? Journalist Diana Trapaidze has come to the conclusion that Ugulava (whose ads appear on TV four times in two hours) has spent 160,000 lari on advertising so far.

Fellow journalist Zviad Koridze says that, ďItís quite normal for the Government to set political advertisement prices. Itís also absolutely normal for a candidate to pay for ads. However, to raise political ad prices to 10 times more than they were during previous elections is without doubt abnormal. The politicians canít afford to pay such enormous sums. The TV companies must know the political partiesí financial conditions and they should establish the tariffs on the basis of this. If the demand for paid advertising is great the price will be raised but if demand is low it will fall. But the prices are now so incredibly inflated that few people want to buy them. All the opposition parties take out free political ads, and only the National Movement pay for them," he says.