Rebecca Harms: Supreme Court Ruling on R2 Could Endanger Balance of Media Pluralism

I am deeply concerned about the Georgian Supreme Court Grand Chamber ruling of 2 March 2017 on the attribution of property of Rustavi 2 television. This decision could endanger the fragile balance of media pluralism in Georgia. I therefore welcome the European Court of Human Rights decision, on 3 March, to temporarily (until 8 March) suspend the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s ruling and ask for its full implementation. I appreciate the decision of the Georgian government to respect this suspension order. Pluralism and freedom of the press are essential for democracy, Georgia"s democratic reform process and its pro-European aspiration. In order to guarantee media pluralism and media independency, it is crucial to achieve full transparency of media ownership and financing. Media and press should not be controlled by the government or those close to it. Opposition voices must continue to be heard on Georgian broadcast media.

Rebecca Harms, Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, speaking on the Rustavi 2 Case. 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.
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