The U.S. will continue to closely monitor appeals process in Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute in court, Department of State spokesperson, John Kirby, said.
He also said when asked at a daily briefing on November 4 about the Rustavi 2 TV case that the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the media freedom at the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission plenary session on November 2 in Washington, and added that the U.S. will continue bringing this issue up “repeatedly”.
A judge of Tbilisi City Court ruled on November 3 in favor of Kibar Khalvashi, a former owner of Rustavi 2 TV, who wants to reclaim his shares in the broadcaster. Lawyers representing current majority shareholders of Rustavi 2 TV will appeal the verdict.
“We’ve been closely observing the deliberations in this particular case,” Kirby said. “We will continue to monitor developments in any appeals process in the future following this initial ruling by the Tbilisi City Court.”
“Recognizing the considerable public interest in this case, the United States welcomes the calm and restraint of all parties’ reactions to the initial ruling,” he said.
“Freedom of the media and independence of the judiciary are essential foundations of any democracy, and in particular remain critical to Georgia’s successful Euro-Atlantic integration. And again, this was discussed at the plenary session Monday, and I think you can fully expect that it will continue to be something we raise repeatedly,” he added.