The European Court of Human Rights on March 7 extended its freeze on a controversial court decision allowing an ownership change at Georgia’s largest private TV station, Rustavi2, that observers claimed would muffle media criticism of the government.
Neither officials nor Rustavi2’s would-be owner, Kibar Khalvashi, responded immediately to the decision, but Rustavi2’s general director, Nika Gvaramia, posted the ECHR notification on his Facebook page, announcing that “We’ve won!”
The decision is not a court ruling, but does prolong “until further notice” the ECHR’s March 3 request that Georgia suspend the ownership change pending a hearing of the Rustavi2 case by the Strasbourg-based court.
At the very least, the decision delayed a new chapter in Rustavi2’s chequered history.
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