President Margvelashvili calls for restraint in response to Rustavi 2 case decision

President accented the importance of media freedom for Georgia as “it is a part of the country’s democracy”. Photo by the President's Press Office., 03 Mar 2017 - 18:15, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has called on the public to refrain from incendiary actions with respect to the Rustavi 2 case verdict and to await for the decision of the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled yesterday that Rustavi 2 shares will be returned to former major shareholder Kiber Khalvashi and his company Panorama LTD.

In response, Rustavi 2 appealed to the European Court of Human Rights today to suspend the enforcement of yesterday’s decision, lawyer Tamta Muradashvili said.

President Margvelashvili held a press-conference today where he said "from the very beginning the process became politicised as a result of political interference”.

The international community sees the Rustavi 2 process not only as a legal dispute but as a political process which affects media freedom and a pluralistic environment”, Margvelashvili said.

Margvelashvili accented the importance of media freedom for Georgia as "it is a part of the country’s democracy”.

Rustavi 2, as well as all independent and non-government media, is part of the country's social and political situation, which creates the country's democratic governance. The media is seen as the fourth power and independence of the media and criticism are a part of democracy. Questions are very clear - if the independent, critical media is limited in its activities, naturally, it will be a problem not of only one channel, but it will be a problem for the country's democracy”, said Margvelashvili.

The president did not comment on the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Rustavi 2 case but mentioned that "all media belongs not only to the outlet [itself], but also to the public”, said the president.