Maestro accepts ITF proposal
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, September 12Maestro TV channel agreed to hold negotiations with the Interagency Task Force concerning the distribution of its satellite antennas on September 11.
Based on the decision made by Georgia’s Interagency Task Force (ITF), which was created under the auspices of the National Security Council, the TV channel will be able to distribute its satellite antennas if it fulfils various preconditions.
Those preconditions are: 1.The antennas should be distributed via the Georgian Post. 2. The antennas should be delivered to those families who face economic hardships.
“Maestro TV has already accepted the proposal. Now negotiations will be held regarding the specific details. I hope the results of the negotiations will be acceptable for both Maestro and for the Georgian population,” Lasha Tughushi, editor-in-chief of Rezonansi newspaper and one of the representatives of the former meeting between the ITF and media representatives said.
According to Ilia Kikabidze, Executive Director of Maestro, negotiations with the channel’s foreign partners are also important, as the distribution process does not only entail providing antennas to people.
Kikabidze also emphasized that the ITF demands the antennas are given to people who are under the poverty line.
“In general this segment of the population does not have TV sets at home. That is why they are on the list. If there is no TV set at home, the satellite antenna is useless and the situation creates a disadvantage for the channel which is trying to increase its viewers,” Kikabidze said, adding that it will also not be acceptable if the satellite antennas are be delivered to those families which support the United National Movement.
Thus, much will depend on the negotiation process as it is said by the Maestro leadership.
The reason the TV satellite antennas were seized was politically motivated. According to the Prosecutors’ Office, through the Ivanishvili-affiliated firm Elita Burji, Maestro TV imported “thousands of satellite antennas.” In a statement released on July 12, the General Prosecutor’s Office claimed that by distributing the satellite antennas, Maestro aimed at bribing voters on behalf of the Georgian Dream. That was the reason behind the seizure of the Maestro satellite antennas.