Statement of the Media Advocacy Coalition on the case of Nika Gvaramia

On May 16, 2022, the Tbilisi City Court will announce the verdict with regards to the criminal case against Nika Gvaramia [1], the former director of Rustavi 2, now the founder and General Director of "Mtavari Arkhi", and his associates[2].

The Media Advocacy Coalition responds once again [3] to the developments
surrounding a broadcaster with a critical editorial policy. We have a legitimate expectation that the court will pay due attention to the conclusions drawn with respect to the case of Nika Gvaramia:

Assessing the charges against Nika Gvaramia [4], the Public Defender clarified that the decision made by the director of the company can be regarded as a criminal or a corporate-legal liability only in special cases, while the charges against Nika Gvaramia do not contain sufficient evidence.

According to the conclusion of Transparency International Georgia, a member of the coalition, [5] Nika Gvaramia's allegations of embezzlement of property rights, commercial bribery, production and use of forged official documents, and money laundering are not substantiated.

The lawsuit against Nika Gvaramia has been closely monitored by the local and international
community for the third year in a row. It is already clear that as a result
of the court ruling [6] on the change of ownership of Rustavi 2, the channel's editorial policy has changed in favor of the government [7], and the legal process is perceived by the public as led by the ruling party. There are similar legitimate doubts about Nika Gvaramia's trial.

The court is obliged to take into account these circumstances, as well as the public interest in the activities of the media, and to make a reasoned decision in accordance with a high standard
of justice, which will dispel suspicions of possible political pressure on
the court.

[1] Nika Gvaramia's trial
[2] Statement of the Prosecutor General of Georgia
[3] Statement by the Media Advocacy Coalition
[4] Public Defender's assessment
[5] Transparency International - Georgia Conclusion
[6] Article: Nika Gvaramia is no longer the General Director of Rustavi 2 -
the change was reflected in the registry
[7] Media Monitoring Report of the Charter of Journalistic Ethics