The ruling Georgian Dream party has sued three opposition-minded channels - Mtavari Arkhi, TV Pirveli and Formula - for releasing a political ad in non-election period with “misleading and slanderous” content ahead of the June 24 pro-European rally organised by groups critical of the Government, the channels confirmed on Tuesday.
In comments, the channels claimed GD had filed a lawsuit to the Communications Commission, an independent authority regulating broadcasting and electronic communications, in an attempt to “financially damage critical media outlets”.
Citing the content of the lawsuit, the channels said that Georgian Dream had called the ad “unlawful” as the domestic legislation prevented release of political advertisements in a non-electoral period, noting the party had also protested its “harmful and misleading” messages, which it said “aimed to harm the reputation” of the ruling party and “portray it as anti-Western”.
The ruling party said that the ad also aimed to discredit the Government.
Opposing the channels’ allegations that GD was trying to “exert pressure” on “unfavourable media companies”, ruling party MP Irakli Kadagishvili suggested on Tuesday the party had the right to file the lawsuit.
I am not aware of the lawsuit. However, everyone, including the ruling party, has the right to sue. If a relevant agency says that the channels should be sanctioned, they will face the sanctions, it is all legal”, Kadagishvili said.
The ad was released by the three TV channels ahead of the Back Home to Europe rally in central Tbilisi in June, organised by the Shame public movement which has accused the Georgian Dream Government of “hampering” the country’s European integration process.