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Ombudsman states court’s verdict over Rustavi 2 was disproportionate

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 17
Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili believes that the Tbilisi City Court verdict over freezing the assets of Georgia’s one of the leading media outlets Rustavi 2 was disproportionate and might cause problems for the channel broadcasting.

The statement came after the solution of the court and multiple statements over Rustavi 2 since the channel’s former shareholder Kibar Khalvashi has demanded “his property” back.

Khalvashi stressed that he was forced under the previous government to concede his shares and appealed to the court to instate a lien on the assets of the channel for to avoid the re-register of shares by the current owners of the media outlet.

The court met the appeal but refrained from freezing the channel’s bank accounts for not to hinder the broadcaster’s normal functioning.

Nanuashvili highlights the fact that the court was eligible to freeze the channel’s assets but it should also have taken the equality principle and the media outlet’s high rating into account.

“The court suppressed the property rights of the channel more than it was necessary to meet the defender’s legitimate aim.”

“The case is a challenge for Georgia’s court system as it concerns the right of property, the right of expression and the right of a fair trial,” Nanuashvili underlined and noted that the transparency and adherence to high standards was crucial in the case.

The NGOs have also appealed to the court to be extremely transparent and fair to the case.

The Rustavi 2 leadership claims that Khalvashi is a “puppet” of the current Government that aims at closing the channel for its critical broadcasting.

Meanwhile, former owners and certain part of media representatives stress that the channel is being controlled by the opposition United National Movement (UNM) and serves the party intentions.

The UNM shares the vision of the company leadership and accuses the authorities of suppressing the independent media.

State Officials state that they do not interfere in such issues as the topics are under the court’s jurisdiction.