U.S. State Department on Rustavi 2 (October 6)

QUESTION: Georgia. I was wondering if you have any reaction about the latest developments in Georgia. It looks like government is openly attacking the largest private TV station, Rustavi 2, which assets and properties were frozen by court. There are clear evidences that government involved in that case. Thank you.

MR TONER: Sure. Well, I can say that we’re closely following the developments that you mentioned. I think we urge that any legal proceedings involving a media outlet, regardless of where but certainly in Georgia, be conducted at the highest standards of judicial due process and with respect for freedom of expression.

More broadly, over the past several years, the United States Government and the international community have praised Georgia’s free and pluralistic media environment which has been recognized internationally as a model for the region. So actions that give the appearance of constricting that environment, constricting media freedoms or compromising that media pluralism, are, frankly, disturbing, and especially in the lead-up to parliamentary elections. So we therefore, we do take it seriously and we’re watching it.