PM Bakhtadze: ECHR ruling on Rustavi 2 confirmed absence of justice under previous gov’t

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that the freedom of speech and media pluralism are one of the biggest achievements of the Georgian Dream government. Photo: Prime Minister’s press office., 19 Jul 2019 - 16:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that yesterday’s ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the Rustavi 2 ownership dispute confirmed that justice was neglected by the United National Movement leadership (UNM).

The ECHR ruling effectively allowed the return of 100 per cent of the channel’s shares to its former owner Kibar Khalvashi, who argued that Rustavi 2 was illegally seized from him by the UNM government in 2006.

People were killed, abused, their property rights were violated and they were tortured by the previous state leadership. The verdict was yet another confirmation that we have been dealing with pseudo-democratic forces who were pretending to be pro-western,” Bakhtadze said.

Rustavi 2 has the right to appeal the verdict of the ECHR to the Grand Chamber of the same court within three months. Photo: Nino Alavidze/

 Bakhtadze cited the current leadership of the channel as saying that the editorial policy of Rustavi 2 will remain unchanged.

Media pluralism is our greatest achievement and we should take good care of it,” Bakhtadze said.

Bakhtadze said that the demands of the opposition for the Justice Ministry of Georgia to not register the shares of the channel in the name of Khalvashi were ‘demagogy.’ 

Bakhtadze said that Khalvashi presented a document which allowed him to regain the shares and the Justice Ministry and its agency “had no right” not to take the step.

Members of the United National Movement opposition held a press conference earlier today, saying that the channel is now “occupied by oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili [founder of the Georgian Dream ruling party].”

UNM members vowed that they will “make the channel and the country free,” through the 2020 parliamentary elections, “when we defeat them.”