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Another Shut-Down TV Station: Samtskhe-Javakheti Regional TV Company “Lomsia”

 Gulo Kokhodze, Akhaltsikhe

Samtskhe-Javakheti Regional TV Company “Lomsia” was another on the list of TV companies that were closed down in fallout of the Rose Revolution. Four years ago the regional population’s assessment to the fact was the following: “They have cut off the opportunity to have a diversity of opinions … the closing down of the “Lomsia” is sheer impudence.” “They have switched off our beacon of information and truth.”

In June of 2004 National Communication Commission refused to continue the license of the regional TV Company “Lomsia” because the latter appealed to the commission two months late for renew the company’s broadcasting license.

Zaza Petriashvili, director of the regional TV Company, stated that “the commission discussed the question on the TV Company for three weeks though they did not take our activities, success and the situation in the region into consideration; they neglected the attitude of donor organizations towards our company, and these organizations trusted and supported us.”

“It is wrong decision,” said Tamaz Petriashvili, owner of the TV Company “Lomsia” and that time Akhaltsikhe District Governor, four years ago.

“I think the decision was made on a personal level. Samtskhe-Javakheti Region should not be treated like that at least based on state interest; they had no moral right to act so,” the governor was too categorical at that time in his remarks.

Dimitri Kitoshvili, former director of the National Communication Commission, stated “I only follow the law”.

However, soon the information was shared that TV Company “Rustavi 2” was facing similar problem. Though the same law could not reflect on the “TV Station of Winners” (it was title given to the Rustavi 2 after the Rose Revolution for being very proactive in broadcasting on-going events).

TV Company Lomsia had worked since 1996; they had daily news-program “Droeba” and provided the region population with current information.

“Lomsia” was the only TV Station equipped with the apparatus for on-air transmitting. It had a studio where debates were held every week-end and invited guests were about to discuss urgent problems facing the region.

“We served the people and provided them with current news. People thanked us for our activities in the streets. I learned about their love for the most part after the TV Company was closed down. Passers-by stopped me and told me that it came as a great surprise, and whether it was true that we were closed,” recalled Irma Giorgadze, former journalist of the TV Company “Lomsia”.

Journalists did not believe that the TV Company would be closed down and all the equipment for transmitting would have become useless.

“It is incredible that “Lomsia” was closed down. It was the first TV Company which freely expressed the opposition’s opinion,” commented Irma Parunashvili, former journalist for the “Lomsia”.

Today, nobody speaks about the closing down of the TV Company. Neither the perspective of its resuming is seen. There is only one Georgian TV Company “Channel 9” which still works in the region.

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