TBILISI, DFWatch – The Republican Party joins representatives of the Georgian press in expressing protest against Tbilisi City Hall’s decision to remove newspaper kiosks.

The Party’s statement says that City Hall’s decision, which was made several weeks ago, as expected had become an instrument for attack on the press and small business.

“We Republicans were against this decision since day one, because it serves for the monopolization of this sector and to oust small business,” the statement reads.

The Republican Party demands that City Hall publishes not only the statistical data about the conducted bidding process, but specific information about companies and individuals which were entitled to locate booths on the territory of the capital for many years.

“It’s quite clear for the decision-makers that newspaper kiosks will never manage to really compete with food, tobacco or lottery companies. It is known that a ‘special’ place is given in this segment to Davit Kezerashvili’s company, and the government leaves a monopolized situation exactly to this company by the eviction of other firms in the market,” the statement says.

The government has announced a internet auction to locate 1 000 kiosks around the capital, explained as an effort to support small and medium size businesses.

Tbilisi City Hall’s announced bidding round indicate places where there already are newspaper kiosks. This has caused concern among representatives of the press, except for a few pro-government newspapers. According to managers among the print media, the distribution of newspapers is in serious danger and this will neither benefit the press nor the government nor the wider society.