Georgian TV Channel Rustavi 2 Faces Crippling Court Measures in Civil Case

Update: 06 Mar 2017 State replied
Year 25 Aug 2015 Country Georgia Category Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 2
25 Aug 2015 Georgia Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 2

On 5 August 2015, the Tbilisi City Court issued an order freezing the assets of the country’s largest private media outlet, the television channel Rustavi 2, as an interim measure pending a verdict. The court order concerns a civil lawsuit lodged by Kibar Khalvashi, a local businessman, to recover shares he claims he was forced to give up in 2006. According to the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (IAGJ), between 2004 and 2012, Rustavi 2 changed owners approximately 20 times, often in controversial deals involving people with close links to ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili. The TV channel, which is now the only major channel perceived to be close to the opposition, is facing excessive legal threats: over a hundred journalists may lose their jobs and news programs may be suspended. The court decision, based on an ownership dispute, is disproportionate and may negatively affect media pluralism in Georgia. The journalists’ organisations call on the Georgian authorities to ensure a transparent and fair process in handling the case, without any interference from politically affiliated groups.

Updates

03 Mar 2017 : On 2 March 2017, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled in favour of the former co-owner of Rustavi 2 TV, ordering a change in ownership.
01 Dec 2016 : On 10 June 2016, Tbilisi’s Appeals Court upheld a City Court ruling over the transfer of the ownership of the TV station to former owner Kibar Khalvashi. Rustavi’s current owners appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. On 21 November 2016, the three judges of the Supreme Court decided to hand the Rustavi 2 ownership case to the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court.

State replies

24 Sep 2015 : Response of the Georgian Government

Follow-ups

06 Mar 2017 : On 3 March 2017, the European Court of Human Rights suspended, under Rule 39 (interim measures), Georgia's Supreme Court’s decision to transfer ownership of Rustavi 2 TV.
03 Mar 2017 : OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls the Surpeme Court 's decision a "disappointing move and huge blow to media pluralism in Georgia".

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

CONTACT US

Follow us   

Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
Twitter feed Twitter feed
Thematic factsheets Thematic factsheets



Thematic factsheets Thematic factsheets



Partners Partners

CONTACT US

Follow us