16 August co-owner of Maesto TV Mamuka Glonti circulated a brief statement saying that “one of the wings of government, after it has failed to subdue Maestro, has started a “fight without rules” against us and is attempting to leave Maestro, as one of the largest media players, “offside.”
“I would like to remind them that the values that TV-Company Maestro is based on is the guarantee of its strength and the fact that National Movement has failed to destroy us was thanks to those values,” Glonti wrote. Maestro will make a more detail statement in several days.
Mamuka Glonti told media.ge that government circles are trying to discriminate Maestro; they do not provide news, avoid Maestro journalists and there’s also oppression by means of finances.
“Of course all this is in some way connected to presidential elections,” Mamuka Glonti said; “They are attempting to fight against us by old methods.” He meant the attitude towards Maestro which took place on the threshold of 2012 parliamentary elections when, according to Glonti, “Saakashvili’s government fought against his government,” blocked advertisements and restructured budgetary debts of other TV-Companies.
To the question whether or not he meant Maestro competitor Rustavi 2 and Imedi under “other TV-Companies” Glonti answered that these televisions are not their competitors.
“We will be competitors after both channels repay GEL 40 million to the state budget,” Glonti said and clarified that Rustavi 2 budgetary debt is GEL 24 million (approximately USD 14,5 million) and Imedi debt is GEL 16 million (approximately USD 9,7 million.)
“They still play with these televisions from the government; they restructure their debts while we have been put under collection of payment due to a minor debt and put lien on our accounts; we have faced financial problems, although we paid the amount; took credit from a bank,” Mamuka Glonti said not specifying the amount repaid.
According to him, Maestro criticized and still criticizes the previous government; it appeared that “someone in current governing forces does not like that.”
After 2012 parliamentary elections when Georgian Dream coalition came into power, in October of the same year, the then Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, who is currently arrested and awaits court verdict, issued an order and wrote off total of GEL 20 million debt of Rustavi 2 broadcasting company, TeleImedi and TV-Company PIK. Another amnesty for televisions was issued in 2010. After parliamentary elections, new minister of finance Nodar Khaduri declared that his ministry intended to send to the Prosecutor’s office materials on those high ranking state officials who have made decisions on writing off the debts of Rustavi 2 and Imedi.
Maestro (legal name Studio Maestro LLC) owners are Mamuka Glonti (15%), Levan Chikvaidze (15%), Ekatirene Akobia (5%), Giorgi Ebralidze (5%), Giorgi Gachechiladze (25%), Maka Asatiani (25%), Maestro leading journalists Nino Zhizhilashvili, Tea Sichinava and Khatia Kvatadze (3-3%). Along with that Giorgi Gachechiladze’s share is under management of Maestro Director General Bacho Kikabidze. Studio Maestro LLC also owns two radio-channels Maestro and Vinyl.
Mamuka Glonti told media.ge that some of the co-owners of the TV-channel are not in Tbilisi so when they will return they will gather and make an official statement on the situation.
In addition group of journalists have gone from Maestro to Imedi, including Tea Sichinava, one of the faces and author of program of Maestro.
Glonti said that he will not comment to the given fact yet.