At 14:00 today Rustavi 2 TV held a demonstration on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi in support of the television and freedom of speech. Several opposition parties, such as Movement for Liberty - European Georgia, United National Movement, and Free Democrats have previously expressed their support to Rustavi 2 and intention to participate in the demonstration.
This week on March 8th, the European Court of Human Rights prolonged its earlier decision to suspend the Georgian Supreme Court’s ownership ruling on Rustavi 2. On March 2nd, the Supreme Court of Georgia made a decision to grant ownership of the Rustavi 2 TV Company to former owner Kibar Khalvashi. The implementation of the decision was then suspended by the European Court of Human Rights on March 3rd.
13 opposition parties have issued a joint statement regarding the Rustavi 2 ownership case, saying that what is currently happening with the broadcaster could harm Georgia’s democratic path and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Responding to the ECHR decision, 28 non-governmental organizations in Georgia called for the Strasbourg court to “use the right of temporary suspension mechanism until a final decision is made.”
The case received wide international attention from diplomatic organizations and members of European Parliament. The EU Delegation to Georgia and the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi also issued official statements raising concerns regarding freedom of media and freedom of speech in Georgia.
Tbilisi City Court and the Appellate Court of Georgia 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 final and cannot be appealed to another court in Georgia.