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Campaign “This Concerns You” protests seizure of Maestro’s satellite antennas

12.07.2012

On July 11, based on the solicitation of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, the Court sealed up dish antennas of the TV-Company Maestro.

In accordance to the Prosecutor’s office of Georgia: “In the course of the investigation opened on June 20, 2012 into the crime of vote-buying, Maestro Ltd, under the instructions of Elita Burji Ltd - a company associated to Georgian Dream Coalition, has recently imported thousands of satellite antennas.

The investigation has sufficient evidence to believe that the antennas will be distributed in accordance to the scheme of vote-buying previously used by Global Contact Consulting Ltd another company associated with Georgian Dream Coalition.
With regard to this issue we believe that:

1. Unlike “Elite Burji”, State Audit Service did not made decision to consider “Maestros” affiliation with any political organization, and did not appeal to the Court to study this particular case. Neither Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia nor the court have provided any evidence to the society that could prove connection between purchase of dish antennas by Maestro and activities of any political parties.

2. Statement of the administration and owners of the TV-Company proves that one of the company-owners Maka Asatiani had purchased the antennas and the State Audit Service has never recognized her to be affiliated with any political party. So restrictions envisaged by the Article 252 Part I and II of the Organic Law of Georgia about Political Unions of Citizens cannot be imposed on her.

3.In accordance to the Article 1641 of the Criminal Code of Georgia voter’s bribery is “directly or indirectly offering, promising, giving or providing the money, securities (including a financial instrument), other property, the property right, service, or any other advantage up to 100 GEL for voting for or refraining from voting for any political entity in the elections. The Prosecutor’s Office has not provided evidence which could prove that Maestro or its representative had assigned dish antenna to anybody for election purposes.

In this light, we would like to declare that sequestration of “Maestros” antennas violates Georgian law. It hinders development of independent TV-company that is rude intervention in media-business by the state. In doing so, the government hinders creation of pluralist media space that significantly deteriorates election environment and creates unequal conditions.

We again call upon the government to take all measures to provide citizens with alternative sources of information. Soon the society shall see valuable evidence for sequestration of imported dish antennas. 

We appeal to international organizations, diplomatic corps, and observer organizations to adequately respond to the restriction of independent media.

Campaign “This Affects You”

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