Founders of Rustavi 2 TV ask for continued investigation into ‘illegal seizure’ of channel

David Dvali and Jarji Akimidze say that the United National Movement leadership illegally seized the Rustavi 2 TV channel in 2004 which they founded. Photo: Rustavi, 14 Jun 2019 - 16:15, Tbilisi,Georgia

Founders of one of Georgia’s leading private broadcasters, Rustavi 2, David Dvali and Jarji Akimidze, who founded the channel with now deceased politician Erosi Kitsmarishvili in 1994, have asked for the continuation of the investigation around the ‘illegal seizure of the channel from lawful owners’ in 2004, under the United National Movement leadership.

Dvali and Akimidze say that the case limitation period, 15 years, expires on June 16 and nobody has been punished so far for the illegal seizure of the property “when offenders and victims are well-known to public. “

Kibar Shalvashi, one of former shareholders of Rustavi 2. 

In 2004 [when the founders lost control of the channel] the then-government and the current main opposition party, the United National Movement, undermined all democratic values and our rights,” Akimidze and Dvali said.

They say that they are not demanding the restoration of justice “in a day”, as the change in the current status-quo of the Rustavi 2 may cause various question marks.

However, if the investigation is suspended a chance will be lost to reveal what happened in 2004 and how the channel appeared in hands of the United National Movement government.”

They have urged the Georgian public, prime minister, Prosecutor’s Office, justice minister and public defender not to allow the case to remain uninvestigated.

Akimidze and Dvali also say that the current state leadership “did nothing” the former owners to regain their shares.

Current leadership of Rustavi two speaks about the government pressure. 

Dvali and Akimidze appealed to the court to investigate the case in 2012, after the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the nine-year-rule of the United National Movement government.

The ownership of Rustavi 2 has a very controversial history

  • Established in 1994, the broadcasting company changed ownership 20 times between 2004 and 2012.
  • In March 2017 Georgia’s Supreme Court delivered a verdict in favor of Its former shareholder 2004-2006) Kibar Khalvashi, who had filed a lawsuit in 2015, giving him 100 per cent of company shares.
  • A few days later the European Court of Human Rights suspended the enforcement of the Georgian Supreme Court’s verdict.