With No Buyer in Sight, Kibar Khalvashi Aims at “Reviving” Rustavi 2 TV Himself

Kibar Khalvashi, the new owner of Rustavi 2 TV, one of Georgia’s most-watched television broadcasters, said he will use all his “resources and opportunities” not to let TV company go bankrupt, as a week-long deadline that he had set for selling the company ended up with no buyer.

In a statement of August 19, Khalvashi said Rustavi 2 should become a commercial television, not burdened by any political obligation, which can affect its interests.

Khalvashi considers among his key obligations to release Rustavi 2 from ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s influence, and regain public trust. He also wants Rustavi 2 TV to be “critical and sharp,” but also follow “highly professional and ethical standards.”

At the same time, Khalvashi considers to continue a legal dispute with the former Director General of Rustavi 2, Nika Gvaramia, who, as Khalvashi says “was intentionally destroying the channel, damaging its interests, and using it only as a fighting tool in Saakashvili’s hands.”

“I am confident that Rustavi 2 will be an independent company both financially and politically, whereas, really independent journalists and a strong medium, free of political interests, will serve the best interests of the society,” Khalvashi stated.

Businessman Kibar Khalvashi, who had launched a legal dispute over Rustavi 2 TV ownership in 2015, regained ownership on July 18, following the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) verdict, immediately replacing Nika Gvaramia by his lawyer, Paata Salia as a director general.

On August 9, the Prosecutor’s Office charged Gvaramia over abuse of power. On August 11, the court ruled that Gvaramia has to post a GEL 40,000 bail and that he will not be able to leave the country without the prosecutor’s permission. On August 16, Gvaramia announced that he has established a new channel, which will start broadcasting soon.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)