Audio compromising the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) Chairman Irakli Chikovani was aired in Maestro TV program Shalva Ramishvili’s Morning on 6 November. Former Head of the GNCC Regulation Department Giorgi Ratishvili recorded the conversation this May. He claims that the audio shows that Irakli Chikovani helps Caucasus Online in conducting illegal actions.
Voice, which as Ratishvili claims is of Irakli Chikovani, tells Caucasus Online representative:
“There’s no way to help you; have been veiling you for 10-11 months. They (Magti) will come and request to switch off and sanction channels. Don’t you have any offshore? Maybe something from there… I don’t know what else to do; I have stopped Silknet; you think they don’t know they are working illegally? There’s no chance I can stop Magti.” (Style is preserved.)
Audio recording shows that Caucasus Online does not have contracts with number of channels that would allow it to rebroadcast. Magti has shown interest to the given issue. Chikovani fears that the US Embassy in Georgia may also join in the process.
“They know exactly that you do not have contracts. Help yourselves; know that I cannot do anything anymore. I cannot help you anymore. The only thing, if you will do something, we can register it by old date; will not refuse that to you. We are maximally delaying giving out information, but will not be able to violate the legal deadlines because we are in war now,” the voice that as Ratishvili claims is of Irakli Chikovani, says.
Giorgi Ratishvili says that when he still worked for the GNCC, inspection showed that Caucasus Online was illegal rebroadcasting channels, although proceedings have not been launched based on the results of inspection.
“This happened not only in relation to Caucasus, but also in other cases; GMG (cable broadcaster) was Chikovani’s favorite. As soon as Magti appeared to be a problem Chikovani “washed his hands.” In would not have happened in case of GMG; he would have fought further,” Giorgi Ratishvili stressed and said that he never received contracts turned in to the GNCC by GMG, although Ratishvili was the one to inspect the contracts.
Giorgi Ratishvili left the GNCC several weeks before the last parliamentary elections after the circulation of the videos showing torturing of inmates and joined the Georgian Dream.
Press-Secretary of the GNCC Khatia Kurashvili told media.ge that the Commission will comment to the given issue later during the day. Caucasus Online representatives do not make any comments either.