Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has released a statement raising an initiative to establish a media ombudsman institution in Georgia.
“First and foremost, I would like to emphasize that we honor decisions, recommendations and ideas from European institutions that make a special contribution to our country’s democratic development. Accordingly, this is exactly how we treat the decision of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the application of an interim measure to the Rustavi 2 case,” the statement reads.
“At the same time, I would also like to point out and underline that our Government has proven its commitment to democratic values with actions, as repeatedly recognized by numerous organizations that measure the strength of democratic institutions, and evidenced by international ratings.
Rule of law, respect for human rights, including freedom of speech and expression, and judicial independence are the result of our Government’s policy and the main achievement of our country and its people. It is our top priority to firmly protect and preserve this achievement.
The independence of the judiciary is a foundational element of a democratic state, and any interference with its work or disrespect of its decisions is totally unacceptable, as is limiting the freedom of expression. These are the very values that our European friends and partners uphold, such is the European principle of democracy, and in building such a state we count on support and solidarity from our European partners.
We are determined to defend European values in our country. Our Government is and will continue to serve as guarantors of the strength and independence of our democratic institutions. I want every single citizen of Georgia to know, that we will do everything to ensure that Georgia’s state institutions protect their rights, and establish and develop the principle of justice.
This is exactly why, while protecting property rights and the independence of the judiciary as one of the key state institutions, we must protect against the violation of fundamental rights. Indeed, it first serves our interests, the interests of the Government, to protect our own greatest achievement, freedom of speech and expression and media pluralism. Therefore, there cannot be any doubts about this issue. This is why I offer to establish the Office of Media Ombudsman, consisting of the most reputable international media rights observers. Today, I am publicly inviting for cooperation European media experts and specialists who have proved in deed their professionalism.
The Office of Media Ombudsman will continuously monitor the country’s media environment and development, including the processes involving Rustavi 2, the Public Broadcaster, and the media environment as a whole.
We are open to cooperation. We are invested in protecting and empowering our institutions, and we will spare no effort to ensure the development of our country in accordance with the European and democratic values,” reads the statement.