Which is the root of the problem: money or politics?

From civil.ge

The conflict at Maestro TV has continued for more than two weeks. Erosi, the head of Maestro TV’s managing company, continues to occupy the Maestro TV station and he is trying to start broadcasting via satellite. The owners of Maestro, whose spokesman is Mamuka Glonti, are broadcasting in a limited way via Maestro’s radio station. To me it seems clear that the two sides are fighting over control of the TV station, its equipment, and its broadcasts. And it also seems clear that they are fighting over money. Erosi claims he put $4.5 million into the station; the owners claim Erosi stole $.5 million and did not spent $4.5 million. I also believe that the fight occurred when the owners of Maestro struck a financially lucrative deal with billionaire Bidza Ivanishvili without including Erosi.

In addition, the fight is about politics.

I’m sure that Maestro TV is one of the two independent TV stations that transmits news critical of Saakashvili’s party. I’m also sure that Maestro TV has been partially paralyzed and that Saakashvili’s party is secretly very pleased that Maestro cannot, temporarily, broadcast criticisms of its policies.

What I don’t know is whether politics or money started the fight. Is Erosi intentionally damaging the main mouthpiece of the opposition-supporting media in order to help Saakashvili? Or is Erosi trying to get a bigger share of money when Maestro TV is sold to Ivanishvili?

Or both?


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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