Rustavi 2 founders say they will use all legal means to regain the channel

David Dvali (left) and Jarji Akimidze (right) spoke of the TV channel’s ownership dispute with parliament members on July 26. Photo: Parliement of Georgia press office, 27 Jul 2019 - 12:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

David Dvali and Jarji Akimidze, the founders of Rustavi 2 TV channel in 1994, say they will use “all  legal” means to regain the channel from its new owner Kibar Khalvashi.

Dvali and Akimidze spoke about the TV channel ownership dispute with parliament members yesterday.

Akimidze said they demand “the restoration of justice and recognition of the fact that the state committed a crime” [when they "illegally seized the channel from its lawful owners" in 2004, under the United National Movement leadership].

Dvali said that any change in Rustavi 2’s editorial policy would now be a “severe blow for the country.”

It is a critical channel, which the country needs now like it does air. It is vital to preserve freedom of speech in the country through such a strong organisation like Rustavi 2”, he said.

He also noted that the two will meet with Khalvashi in the coming days and attempt to clarify several issues. However, Dvali said there are also certain “red lines”, which he and Akimidze cannot cross.

Photo: Nino Alavidze/

Dvali and Akimidze, who say that the channel was illegally seized from them in 2004, stated earlier that the only person who now stands between them and justice is Khalvashi.

The European Court of Human Rights upheld the verdict of the Georgian Supreme Court of 2017 and allowed the return of 100 per cent of Rustavi 2 shares to Kibar Khalvashi, who argued that the company was illegally seized by the UNM government from him in 2006.