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Maestro Controversy Continues

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, January 4
Controversy and misunderstanding on the oppositional front is ongoing. The central figures of the situation remain to be members of Georgian Party. At the present moment, co leader of the party Erosi Kitsmarishvili is blamed for anti Maestro TV activities by the TV channel’s leadership.

On December 31st, general director of the Tbilisi based Maestro television, Kakha Bekauri, resigned. Stating his decision would give the TV station’s owners more room for handling troubled relations with the station’s managing firm, founded by Erosi Kitsmarishvili. Bekauri reiterated his allegations that Kintsmarishvili was pressuring him to turn the TV station into his party’s “mouthpiece”, but after refusing, Kintsmarishvili wanted his resignation and for that purpose, stopped financing the channel through his managing firm.

Meanwhile, Mamuka Glonti, one of the co-owners of the Maestro TV station, released a written statement demanding Kitsmarishvili’s firm, Rustavi Media Management Company (RMMC), to repay its debt and to agree on voiding a three-year contract, through which RMMC gained management rights of Maestro TV in November, 2009.

“Proceeding the difficult situation surrounding Maestro TV, the founders of the TV company asked the founder of Rustavi Media Management Company, Erosi Kintsmarishvili, to fully repay the debt towards the company within the next 10 days and to cancel a contract between Maestro TV and Rustavi Media Management Company; otherwise, Maestro TV will resort to legal action in order to protect its rights,” Glonti said pointing out “If Kitsmarishvili wants war he will get it.”

From his side, Kitsmarishvili denies the accusations and states that he did not interfered in the channel’s issues for 9 months, “I appeal to the former General Director of Maestro TV and other owners of the channel not to politicize the TV related issues. I and all members of Georgian Party support free Georgian media and wish them a happy New Year.”

As for another co leader of Georgian Party, Levan Gachechiladze, the ongoing issues with Maestro are absolutely unclear, “I am very surprised by Bekauri’s statements; he talks about Kintsmarishvili's involvement in TV affairs. How can he prove this? There have been many other oppositional factions’ representatives on Maestro TV programs than our party members.”

As analyst Gia Khukhashvili stated for The Messenger, “This history can not be discussed as a separate event, it is part of the recently ongoing scandalous situation within the opposition. I don’t think Kintsmarishvili would work so hard at trying to directly interfere with the channel’s internal affairs. However, the fact that he is the chair of the ruling company creates a very awkward situation. In general for me, based on these events, the myth about Kitsmarishvili’s professionalism, being a politician and his PR skills in media space turned out to be exaggerated. However, the other side of the story does not look nice as well. All the actors in the scandals and events are antagonists, from oppositional members to authority representatives," Khukhashvili said claiming that, “All members of the opposition and authority spectrum live on Olympus and are far from Georgian reality, they are the personages of the tabloid papers and not oriented on resolving the country's problematic issues.”