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Georgia Urged To Respect Media Independence

The United States has expressed deep concern over a Georgian court decision to change the management at the country's largest independent television station.

A judge ordered late on November 5 that top managers at the Rustavi-2 station be replaced by provisional administrators appointed by a businessman with apparently close ties to the government.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said on November 6: "In a democratic society, critical opinion should be encouraged, not silenced."

“Editorial decisions should be made in news rooms, not court rooms,” said Dunja Mijatovic, the media freedom representative for the Organization for Secutiy and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). "Attempts by the courts to unduly influence an editorial policy of a media outlet are nothing short of the abuse of the rule of law and democratic foundations in a society.”

The Washington-based Freedom House urged the Georgian government to "end its interference in the media."

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