TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia has agreed to distribute satellite dishes it confiscated from Maestro TV. The equipment will be distributed to the population by the Georgian Post.
Maestro has not yet decided whether to accept the offer, but mediators for the government and the TV company welcome the decision.
Part of civil society, especially the campaign This Affects You Too, have been in consultations with the government since it seized satellite dishes belonging to Maestro. The company’s goal was to distribute those satellite dishes all over Georgia for socially vulnerable people and install them.
30 000 satellite dishes and 15 000 receivers were seized by Georgia’s Prosecutor Office.
There is an interest towards Maestro, as it is not managed by the government, but it is nearly impossible to receive it without a satellite dish, which the majority of the population doesn’t have enough money to buy. That’s why several months ago Maestro’s leadership decided to install dishes for the socially vulnerable. These people would then pay for the receivers over a certain period of time, as a credit.
But government didn’t give this opportunity to TV Company and seized dishes with argument that Maestro was bribing voters in favor of Georgian Dream, but government lacked argument to this, that’s why groups in Georgia considered illegal to seize the satellite dishes.
The issue has been discussed with the Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council, Giga Bokeria.
On Monday after the meeting, it was said that the government agrees to lift the seizure under certain circumstances: the satellite dishes should be distributed by the Georgian Post in the name of Maestro.
“Bokeria made the step regarding our demands and this is a scheme on which we can start a discussion, in my opinion,” This Affects You Too spokesperson Lasha Tughushi said after the meeting.
He hopes that this process won’t be dragged out in time and there won’t be problems to provide people with information for election. But he notes that there is little time before the election and it is necessary to accelerate the process as much as possible.
Maestro’s management says it will make a decision in the next days.
Bacho Kikabidze, CEO of the TV company, says that they will discuss how fair this proposal will be and what results it will have. He says distributing satellite dishes by post won’t provide full service and only distribution will not be enough.
“It is interesting how they will solve problem of installation. We will discuss these details without foreign partners; we will also discuss the commercial issue and make a final decision.”