The European Union is “confident” that the Georgian authorities will respect the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which suspended the enforcement of the Georgian Supreme Court’s Rustavi 2 TV ruling, Maja Kocijančič, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, said in a statement on March 8.
“The Supreme Court’s verdict might have an impact on the country’s media landscape, affecting the diversity of views available to citizens through broadcasting channels,” the statement said.
“Looking forward, we reiterate that a continued commitment to political pluralism and freedom of the media is fundamental for the preservation and consolidation of democracy,” Maja Kocijančič noted.
The spokesperson added that the European Union “trusts” that the Georgian Government “will treat these principles as an absolute priority and will actively uphold them, corresponding to essential commitments in the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.”
The spokesperson’s statement comes a day after the joint letter of seventeen European Parliament Members (MEP) to the Georgian Government, expressing concern over “the attempts of forceful change” of Rustavi 2 ownership and calling on the Georgian authorities “to refrain from using the judiciary system to achieve politically expedient outcome and impede the independent editorial policy of Rustavi 2.”
“Change of the channel’s ownership rights and resulting change in its editorial policy, turning Rustavi 2 into another government friendly media outlet, would seriously impede the quality of democracy and free media in Georgia. This would undermine Georgia’s ability to comply with the obligations it has undertaken as a signatory country of the Association Agreement with the European Union,” European legislators stated.
MEPs also called on the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) “to give a critical appraisal of the actions of the Georgian authorities and demand full compliance with the obligations the Georgian authorities have undertaken vis-à-vis the European Union.”
Seventeen MEPs, among them eight from the European People’s Party (EPP), two from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D), four from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), two from the European Conservatives and Reformists and one from the European Free Alliance Greens (Verts/ALE) signed the letter.