The Director General of Maestro TV, Baia Gadabadze was dismissed from the position of Maestro TV Director by a majority of votes of the company’s partners. The new Director is Levan Gachechiladze, the brother of Maestro’s 55% shareholder, Gia Gachechiladze.
Maestro TV has new Director General
By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, February 5
Maestro TV Journalists released a statement concerning the issue. The journalists spoke about editorial independence and explained that independence was guaranteed under the previous Director General, Baia Gadabadze .
“In connection with the developments around Maestro, we would like to state that the editorial independence of the TV staff has always been and is the most important value that has never been questioned at any stage of the company’s existence, including during Baia Gadabadze’s tenure. During her time as Director General, editorial independence was guaranteed and there was no interference from outside parties. Maestro employees hope that the recent development will not change the comfortable working conditions at the TV station," the statement reads.
It should be noted that several days ago, the National Public Registry announced that 55 percent of Maestro’s shares now belonged to one of the channel’s founders, Gia Gachechiladze, who is a former pop star and political activist. He is the brother of Levan Gachechiladze, a politician and businessman who ran as the main oppositional candidate in the January 5 Georgian presidential election in 2008.
Of the other Maestro shareholders, Maka Asatiani had 25 percent shares, Mamuka Glonti had 15 percent ownership and Ekaterine Akobia had five percent shares in the TV company. Asatiani was the one behind all of the recent investments into the TV channel. Glonti was a founder of the channel while Akobia was one of the co-founders and a long-time member of staff.
The parliamentary opposition is suspicious that the developments around Maestro TV are connected with the government’s interests before the elections.
According to minority MP Levan Bezhashvili, the government periodically interferes in the freedom of the media; he claims that Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV were both victims of government pressure, and now the government has turned its attention to Maestro.
The Georgian Prime Minister’s press-service has released information on PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s point of view in relation to Maestro TV Company.
‘Freedom and expression of speech are the main priorities of our society. The PM says the freedom must not be in danger at all. The developments around Maestro only represent a controversy between its owners, and government has no interest or part in it. The Prime Minister says that it is categorically unacceptable for the government or any political forces to interfere with the media,’ reads the statement of the PM’s Office.