GEO

One More Lawsuit Endangers Editorial Independence of TV Company Rustavi 2

08 May, 2019

 

In the beginning of May, Nino Nizharadze, 9% shareholder of TV Company Rustavi 2, filed a lawsuit to the Tbilisi City Court, seeking payment of 26 mln. GEL from the Director and other shareholders of the company.

In light of the events consequent to the lawsuit against Rustavi 2 in 2015, the current claim raises legitimate questions once again.

Rustavi 2, one of the most influential broadcasters that are critical of the government has been facing the threat of editorial policy change for several years. Opinions about the editorial policy of Rustavi 2 may vary, but the existence of critical and diverse media platforms is crucial for a pluralistic media environment.

The new legal dispute hampers the work of the broadcaster; moreover, it threatens media pluralism and free media environment in the country. The potential shift in Rustavi 2’s editorial policy will definitely have a negative impact on 2020 pre-election period and the entire democratic process.

It should be noted that recent developments around other media outlets such as TV Pirveli, Iberia TV and Adjara Television, also raise questions about authorities’ interference in media independence. These issues are and will be negatively reflected in all international reports evaluating the state of the media and democratic development in Georgia. For a transitional democracy like Georgia, it is vital to adhere to the high standard of freedom of speech and expression, which is feasible only in a pluralistic media environment.

 

Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)

Georgian Journalistic Ethics Charter

Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)

Alliance of Regional Broadcasters

Small and Medium Telecom Operators Association

Media Club

Alliance of Regional Broadcasters

Liberal Academy Tbilisi

Georgia’s Democracy Initiative (GDI)

Transparency International Georgia (TI)

Media Development Found (MDF)

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

Institute for development of freedom of Information (IDFI)

Media, rustavi2