The EU delegation and Tbilisi-based ambassadors from the EU-member states said they are closely monitoring media environment in Georgia and while they refrain from commenting on the merits of ongoing court case over Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute, they have “concerns to be addressed.”
“As we implement the Association Agreement, we have increased our support to Georgia, but also our scrutiny,” the EU delegation to Georgia said in a statement released in agreement with the heads of missions of the EU-member states in Tbilisi on October 26.
The statement on, as it puts it, “current political tension in Georgia” notes importance of building upon “the reforms achieved so far” and ensuring “fully functioning democratic institutions.”
“A pluralistic political and media landscape is an essential component of Georgia’s democracy and its European choice,” reads the statement.
“While we wish to refrain from commenting on the merits of individual court cases, we have concerns to be addressed and we expect that the principles of rule of law, independence of judiciary and media freedom are applied in practice in Georgia at this important moment.”
“The limitation or the disruption of an important media outlet would have the potential to weaken the democratic process, including the conduct of the elections scheduled for October 2016.”
“The EU shares and supports the stated goal of the government to continue with reforms and to achieve free and orderly elections. We trust that the government will treat this as an absolute priority throughout the forthcoming year. Proper access of all democratic political forces to the media is an essential precondition for democratic elections.
“We call upon all state institutions and political actors to refrain from any further steps or statements that could increase tensions and foster polarisation,” the EU delegation said.