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Georgia: With TV Station Takeover, Is Free Speech at Stake?

Rustavi2 staff members, supporters and prominent public figures, including Georgia’s first lady, Maka Chichua (left), gathered outside the studios of the television network on March 3. (Screenshot of Rustavi2 report)

Journalists at Georgia’s last major opposition broadcasting company are digging in and refusing to comply with a court order altering the outlet’s ownership structure. Doing so, they say, would sound the death knell for independent media in the country.
 
Defiant supporters pitched tents outside the studios of the television channel Rustavi2, forming a human shield in front of the building in response to a March 2 Supreme Court decision to return ownership of the broadcaster to businessman Kibar Khalvashi. “We will continue our work and we are staying on the air,” said Rustavi2’s General Director Nika Gvaramia, who was flanked by the company’s news crews as he spoke.
 

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.

Georgia: With TV Station Takeover, Is Free Speech at Stake?

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