On March 3, 19 Non-Governmental Organizations released a joint statement regarding the Supreme Court of Georgia’s decision to grant 100% ownership of the Rustavi 2 TV company to former owner Kibar Khalvashi. The statement says that in the three instances where the case passed through in Tbilisi City Court, the Appellate Court, and the Supreme Court, the court proceedings and final results were not in accordance with the standards of a just court.
The statement reads as follows:
We are deeply concerned by the decision, made on March 2 by the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court of Georgia, stating that the owner of Rustavi 2 shares will become Kibar Khalvashi (60%) and Ltd Panorama (40%).
In all three instances of judicial proceedings, as well as the final result, do not meet the requirements of an independent court decision and strengthens our doubts concerning the rough interference of the government in the decision making process.
We want to emphasize, that this decision damages not only the further democratic development of Georgia, but limits freedom of media, pluralistic media environment and threatens Euro-Atlantic integration process.
- Transparency International Georgia
- Civil Development Agency
- International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
- Open Society Georgia Foundation
- Georgian Reforms Associates
- Atlantic Council of Georgia
- Georgian Farmers Association
- The Economic Policy Research Center
- Green Alternative
- Media Development Foundation
- UN Association of Georgia
- Georgian Democracy Initiative
- Regional Centre for Strategic Studies
- In Depth Reporting and Advocacy Center
- Union Safari
- Georgian Institute of Politics
- Voice from Georgia
- Institute for Development of Freedom of Information
- Society and Banks"
The Supreme Court of Georgia, started the hearing of the case on March 2. Rustavi 2 held the demonstration in front of the Supreme Court of Georgia saying that they will not allow the government to change the editorial policy of the station. Several opposition parties have expressed their support for TV company.
Tbilisi City Court and the Appellate Court of Georgia have previously decided to grant 100% ownership of the TV company to former owner Kibar Khalvashi; his sister has been an MP for the Georgian Dream party since 2012. Rustavi 2 applied to appeal the decisions to the Supreme Court. The decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia is the final one and cannot be appealed to another court in the country.