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The Maestro vs the Communication Commission Part 2

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The next court proceeding of Studio Maestro against the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) was held on September 17 in the Tbilisi municipal courts.  Mamuka Glonti, the founder and the director of the studio and popular public figure didn’t attend the proceeding due to an illness. 

The court date was postponed by the judge Nana Daraselia, who decided to take a week to go deep into the details of the dispute. The main part of the 3 hour proceeding was spent clarifying the details concerning the dates of the response of the Maestro’s official request to modify the old license or to get a new license for political broadcasting. The lawyers of the Studio accuse the Commission of purposefully prolonging the process of the publishing their resolution. The court discussed the details that were not clarified in the previous proceeding.

The 30-day lapse for receiving the final decision is the main point of accusation from Maestro lawyers. Tamar Kordzaia and Eka Phophkhadze declared that the Commission delayed the making of the decision, when the studio, according the law, should have received the license automatically.

The GNCC lawyer, Kakhi Kurashvili, explained that from the very moment of receiving Maestro’s petition for a new broadcasting license they began to discuss it under simple administrative procedures. However, later it turned out that the case belonged to the public administrative procedures and the commission decided to switch procedures on March 10. It took another ten days to reach a final resolution on April 4, which was negative for the Maestro, while also considering a penalty forbidding any review of the matter for a period of one year.

Maestro has been fined by the Communications Commission for the illegal launching of a program that was not allowed under the current license. The studio had been broadcasting the program since January 21, 2008.

In spite of  the penalty, the Maestro's case is considered by members of society as a pressure on  free media. 

Giorgi Chkheidze, the head of the Young Lawyers Association, said later after the court hearing, “It is very clear that Maestro was refused the new license not because of an administrative decision. This is not a case to be discussed as a single story; this is a test-case for the state towards the freedom of media.” Maestro's lawyers, Tamar Kordzaia and Eka Phophkhadze, are both members of the Young Lawyers Association.

“Foreseeing that the case is difficult to judge, I can’t make any judgment today,” stated the judge Nana Daraselia, and appointed the ruling date of September 30.

17 September Wed 2008, 20:32:42

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