Georgian leaders have responded to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute followed by the replacement of the Director General of the TV station.
In her yesterday’s statement, President Salome Zurabishvili called the ECHR ruling “unprecedented.”
President Zurabishvili said with this decision, Europe “acknowledged the impartiality of the Georgian judiciary and the fairness of its decision in the case under review.”
“I also believe that freedom of speech and freedom of expression, as the main pillars of democracy, will not be threatened in Georgia,” she added.
Commenting on the editorial independence of Rustavi 2 TV, Prime Minister Bakhtadze told reporters on July 19 that the TV channel will face no threat in this respect.
“It is guaranteed by the huge achievement made under the Georgian Dream – media pluralism,” he said, adding that “this case has nothing to do with media pluralism and its possible harming.”
He brushed aside opposition complaints that the decision on the change of management was taken in a precipitated manner: “this so called “argument” of our opponents is pure demagoguery, and has nothing in common with the reality,” PM Bakhtadze argued. “The private owner decided to do what he decided to do, and the Ministry of Justice [which oversees public registry – eds.] has done what it was obliged to do by law. This is their obligation,” PM said.
He added, “the Strasbourg Court decision is an additional proof that during the regime of the United National Movement and [ex-President Mikheil] Saakashvili regime we did not have the rule of law, people were murdered, their lives were put in danger, their property was seized, people were tortured. This is what we had.”
The Prime Minister was apparently referring to ECHR decisions of July 18 on Rustavi 2 and Vagazashvili cases.
In its judgement of July 18, the seven-member Chamber of the ECHR declared there has been no breach in fair trial guarantees in Rustavi 2 ownership dispute.
Source - Civil.ge
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