“Court decision in the Kapanadze case is another step back on the path to European integration” – Media Advocacy Coalition
The coalition believes that the decision of the Kutaisi Court of Appeal on the legality of the impeachment dismissal of Natia Kapanadze, former director of the Public Broadcaster of Adjara Television and Radio, is yet another blow to media freedom.
“By a decision of November 2, 2022, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Batumi City Court, and without any clarification, and limited itself to noting that it fully agreed with the court of first instance.
On April 19, 2019, the Advisory Board of the Public Broadcaster of Adjara Television and Radio expressed no confidence in the director Natia Kapanadze and removed her from her position. Against the backdrop of the existing progress on television in Adjara, the unjustified impeachment raised many questions,” the organization said in a statement.
According to the Media Advocacy Coalition, the targeted persecution by the new leadership of critical journalists makes it clear that the impeachment of Natia Kapanadze was aimed at changing the channel’s editorial policy. Natia Kapanadze appealed against the council’s decision in court. On May 6, 2022, the Batumi City Court dismissed her claim.
According to the organization, as part of the lawsuit, Natia Kapanadze filed a lawsuit in connection with the improper investigation of the circumstances by the Broadcasting Council:
“It is noteworthy that the court partially shared her position and in 11 out of 17 circumstances considered that the position of the Public Broadcaster of Adjara Television and Radio was unsubstantiated and was not based on an analysis and objective assessment of specific facts, although in the end it decided not to satisfy Kapanadze’s claim only on the basis of 5 circumstances.
Georgian Young Lawyers Association [АМЮГ] defended the interests of Natia Kapanadze in court. According to the GYLA, as well as the member organizations of the Media Advocacy Coalition, the decision made by the Court of Appeal is another example of the fact that the state restricts the freedom of the media, and the independence of the judiciary is problematic,” the statement said.
The Media Advocacy Coalition believes that such decisions, in the light of Georgia’s attempt to obtain candidate status, further distance the country from the European future.