Tbilisi, March 3, 2017 – Firstly, the Government of Georgia calls on the respect of democratic institutions. It is clear, that the Rustavi 2 dispute takes place against the backdrop of an unfortunate legacy. The ownership rights have been disputed in the court for several years now. This case has been judged by three instances of the independent judiciary and the final decision of returning the TV Company to its legal owner was made by Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court by unanimous decision of nine Supreme Court Justices. Government of Georgia has a full appreciation and respect towards the freedom of media and does everything to protect and ensure pluralistic media environment. We strongly believe that the respect of the decisions of democratic institutions is essential to the development of the country. At the same time, the Government will spare no effort in ensuring that media freedom and the freedom of speech is protected.
For more information contact:
Department of Public Relations
Administration of the Government of Georgia
Phone: +995 599 969610
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 7, Ingorokva str. 0114 Tbilisi, Georgia
The Government of Georgia is committed to the advancement of media freedom and the protection of human rights, and has made significant progress in this regard since 2012. These advances have been widely documented by international organizations.
Georgia firmly believes in transparency, freedom of expression and free media. In 2015, the World Justice Project “Rule of Law” index ranked Georgia 29th out of 102 countries, which moved Georgia up 37 places compared to its 2012 ranking, and placed the country ahead of several old and new EU members.
Two phases of legislative reforms have been carried out since May 2013 and a third was launched in 2015 to increase the independence of judges. Judges are free from the external interference from prosecutors or representatives of the executive branch of government. Meanwhile, prosecutors have been made independent from the Ministry of Justice and the political process. These improvements have been recognized by the Venice Commission, the European Commission's ENP Country Progress Report for Georgia (March 2015), and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
In addition, Reporters without Borders rated Georgia as a leader in Eastern Europe and ranked Georgia 64th out of 180 countries in its 2016 World Press Freedom Index, 36 places higher than the 2012 index. Georgia was also among the 9 countries worldwide that have most improved according to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press 2015 report.
Meanwhile, in Freedom House’s most recent report, Georgia received a score of 64 on a scale of 1 to 100, making it the highest ranked country in the region. This democratic progress is squarely in line with the values of the Georgian people.
In regards to Rustavi 2, most of the credible international human rights reports have been reporting throughout years, that this TV Company has been illegally seized by former government from its legal owners.
The Department of State Human Rights Report 2008, stated: “Rustavi-2's founder and former owner, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, alleged on November 26 that authorities seized the television station from him in 2004 and announced his intention to regain his shares of the station by filing a lawsuit against President Saakashvili. By year's end, no lawsuit had been filed. On December 1, the next Rustavi-2 owner Kibar Kalvaski filed a letter of complaint with the prosecutor's office alleging he was forced to give up ownership of the station under pressure from government officials. He sent a similar letter to the Parliament, but at year's end there was no reaction to either letter.”
Transparency International Georgia report ‘The TV station of ‘victorious people’: The story of Rustavi 2’ gives a full description and history of illegal seizure of the TV channel from legal owners.
more informations here: twitter.com/hashtag/rustavi2