Giorgi Kvirikashvili: “The Georgian Government’s position with respect to media freedom is firm and unequivocal”

“The Georgian Government’s position with respect to media freedom is firm and unequivocal”  - Georgian Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili is quoted as saying when commenting on the Rustavi 2 case.
“I wish to reaffirm our Government’s very frim position with respect to media freedom. We do our utmost to ensure that the international community and international organisations are provided with unbiased information regarding this case and to assure them of our firm position regarding the principle of non-interference in the conduct of court proceedings” – the Minister said.
According to him, it is necessary to provide the maximum degree of transparency in taking the steps that cause high public interest and strongly impact the international reputation of Georgia.
“The court proceedings that are still ongoing may be conducted even more transparently in order to ensure that any question that may arise is answered during these very proceedings.  Since we are in the so-called transitional period, pending the final outcome of the proceedings, I think it would be advisable for both parties to the dispute to reach at least some type of agreement in order that the council is staffed by members, who are neutral and qualified to the maximum extent, which will ensure the independence of editorial policy – the independence, not objectivity, I wish to emphasize. Because it is not our goal to ensure the objectivity of either position or editorial policy of private media companies.  Let me underline once again that the aim of this Council is to ensure the independence, not objectivity, of the media company’s editorial policy.
The creation of such mechanism would allow us to dispel all suspicions that the government makes attempts to exercise at least some control over the media company” – Giorgi Kvirikashvili said.
According to the Minister, the editorial policy of the media companies in Georgia excludes the possibility of any control on media sources. A range of recent international assessments provide a clear proof of this.
“If you take a closer look at media environment in Georgia and the editorial policy of various media companies, I don’t think there will be anyone among you who will suspect that at least some type of control is exercised in Georgia. There is an increasing number of international assessments that clearly attest to this. We are not ideal but if we take stock of the ongoing processes, we’ll see that the progress is absolutely evident and anyone who is unbiased will recognize this progress” – the Minister added.
According to the Minister, it is necessary to ensure greater degree of constructiveness and transparency in the Rustavi 2 case through the maximum involvement of the parties to the dispute.