TBILISI, 04 November 2015 - Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili yesterday made the following statement:
"This is a private ownership dispute between two parties, which has been decided upon by the court, in accordance with due process and the rule of law. We will in no way interfere with this dispute. It is up to the court to make the ultimate decision, and we all-including the government -must get used to obeying court decisions in our modern and democratic Georgia where we are implementing reforms in line with EU requirements. Whether we like it or not, we must abide by court decisions.
Whilst Rustavi 2 changed hands more than 20 times under the previous regime due to political interests, ownership of this TV station has for the first time been determined by the independent judiciary. This sets an important precedent and marks another welcome step forward for media freedom and pluralism, democracy and the rule of law in Georgia.
Our government remains committed to guaranteeing the safety and independence of all journalists in Georgia. Politicising the media is unacceptable, and every politician must abstain from this. Of course, journalists are entitled to have political affiliations, but they should be independent in their decisions. I cannot force the media to be our government's supporters because it is their constitutional right to continue their endeavours as they see fit."