Maestro TV station, mainly available for viewers in Tbilisi, suspended broadcasting on December 23, citing unspecified “technical problems”.
Maestro TV, known together with another Tbilisi-based small station Kavkasia TV for reporting critically on the government, suspended its programming, mainly involving news and talk-shows, as well as weekly investigative reports, at 7am local time on December 23.
Director of the TV station, Kakha Bekauri, told the Georgian daily Rezonansi that “technical problem”, which he did not elaborate, was the reason behind suspending broadcasting. He, however, also acknowledge that “technical problem” was also related to financial difficulties. He could not provide any specific date when the TV station would be able to resume its regular programming.
The suspension of broadcast triggered speculation in the media that it was related purely to financial problems of the station, presumably originating from withdrawal from the management of Erosi Kitsmarishvili, a former co-owner of Rustavi 2 TV and a co-founder of opposition Georgian Party.
A company, founded by Kitsmarishvili, took over Maestro TV’s management for three years in November, 2009. In March, 2010 Kitsmarishvili appointed Kakha Bekauri as Maestro TV’s new director in charge of day-to-day management of the TV station; Kitsmarishvili said for number of times since then that after this appointment he had nothing to do with Maestro TV any more. Bekauri said on December 23 that Kitsmarishvili was not involved in Maestro TV’s affairs for months already and the suspension of broadcast was not related in any way with Kitsmarishvili.
In May, 2010, when Maestro TV re-launched broadcast with new studios and new programming, it was also available on satellite; but few months later the TV station had to drop from satellite broadcasting, citing financial problems.