We, the undersigned organizations, are writing this statement in response to the recent developments related to the European Court of Human Rights’ judgement on the Rustavi 2 ownership dispute case, which represents a significant challenge for Georgia’s fragile democracy and poses a serious threat for the media landscape.
Freedom of expression and media are indispensable conditions for the country’s democratic development. In Georgia’s polarized media environment, Rustavi 2 TV plays a significant role in monitoring the government and keeping it accountable for its activities.
In light of the current reality in Georgia, it is essential for Rustavi 2’s new owner and management to ensure the editorial independence of the journalists and allow them to make decisions according to their own conscience. Moreover, effective mechanisms should be introduced to ensure that employees’ labor rights are duly protected.
It goes without saying that the change in Rustavi 2’s ownership goes in line with the interests of the government, which has been openly confirmed through numerous statements. It is important to discontinue the practice of a change in management/ownership directly reflecting on the broadcaster’s critical editorial policy towards the government.
We, the undersigned organizations, will continue to monitor the media landscape and in particular the ongoing developments around Rustavi 2. Moreover, we express our readiness to provide assistance to the staff of Rustavi 2.
Transparency International Georgia
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Georgia’s Democratic Initiative
Media Development Foundation
Society and Banks
Atlantic Council of Georgia
The Economic Policy Research Center
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information
UN Association of Georgia
Open Society Georgia Foundation
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center
Georgian Young Lawyers Association
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics
Regional Centre for Strategic Studies
In Depth Reporting and Economic analysis Center
Human Rights Center
Georgian Reforms Association – GRASS
Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies
Rehabilitation initiative for vulnerable groups