About dozen of civil society and media organizations, united in Coalition for Media Advocacy, said in a joint statement that there are number of indications suggesting possible government meddling in ongoing ownership dispute over Rustavi 2 TV.
- Rustavi 2 TV Accuses Govt of Blocking Its Funding Deal
- One of Ex-Owners in Court Bid to Reclaim Rustavi 2 TV
- Court Orders Rustavi 2 TV Asset Freeze
- Civil Society Groups on Court’s Order to Freeze Rustavi 2 TV Assets
“Although dispute over Rustavi 2 TV shares is a private law case that formally excludes direct involvement of the state in it, there are a number of circumstances, which cause serious suspicion about government’s influence on the ongoing process, including multiple statements (in some cases even threats) made by senior officials about Rustavi 2 TV, intolerance and attempts by the authorities to suppress dissent, critical views, as well as recent developments in media (simultaneous, unexpected closure of political talk shows in suspicious circumstances on various national broadcasters),” reads the statement.
The coalition includes, among others, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI); Open Society Georgia Foundation; Civic Development Institute; Georgian Regional Media Association; Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics; Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters.
“It is a fact that an injective measure applied by court, creates serious financial difficulties for the TV company, which may soon face deep financial crisis – such a development will at least hamper its day-to-day operations and call the existence of dissent, critical opinions in media into question,” the statement reads.
“In this difficult situation the judiciary carries special role and responsibility, which should ensure independent and unbiased settlement of the dispute and at the same time take into consideration and protect high public interest that accompanies the ongoing legal dispute.”
“We believe that the court should use all the legal means at its disposal that will help to adjudicate the ongoing dispute over Rustavi 2 TV shares in a way that will not cause suspension of the broadcaster’s operations and/or restriction of its editorial independence,” it says.