Media Profiles

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Rustavi 2

Rustavi 2 broadcasting company was founded in the city of Rustavi in 1994 and it has gradually turned into national television. It owns a B9 license.

During the 2003 Rose Revolution, the TV channel became a key platform of alternative opinion for political opposition; however, its editorial policy has changed following the Rose Revolution.

Rustavi 2 TV was founded in 1994 by Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Jarji Akimidze and Davit Dvali. Since October 2012 the TV channel has been owned by brothers, Giorgi and Levan Karamanishvili. Levan Karamanishvili owns 22% of shares and Giorgi Karamanishvili – 18%. 51% of Rustavi 2 TV is owned by TV Company Georgia, where Levan Karamanishvili owns 60% of shares and 40% belongs to Giorgi Karamanishvili. The remaining 9% belongs to Giorgi Gegeshidze. One of the owners of the TV channel, Levan Karamanishvili is also an owner of the shares in a mobile operator Beeline.

During 2004-2012 Rustavi 2 TV changed hands 20 times. On June 16, 2004, Paata Karsanidze, a businessman with no public profile, bought 60% of the debt-stricken Rustavi 2 (30% from Davit Dvali and 30% from Jarji Akimidze) only to sell his shares to Kibar Khalvashi the same day. Khalvashi’s company, Panorama Ltd, also acquired Nika Tabatadze’s 10% of shares in Rustavi 2 and Erosi Kitsmarishvili’s 30% of shares.

In that period Kibar Khalvashi was a friend of Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili. In December 2005, SakCementi acquired 22% of Rustavi 2 from Khalvashi’s company Panorama. Robert Bezhuashvili, father of Davit Bezhuashvili of the National Movement and Gela Bezhuashvili, the Foreign Minister in 2004-2008, held 100% of SakCementi. Later in 2006, after Irakli Okruashvili resigned from the Economy Minister’s position, Kibar Khalvashi and his Panorama Ltd sold 78% of shares to GeoTrans Ltd.

On August 4, 2015 Kibar Khalvashi and his company Panorama Ltd filed a lawsuit against Rustavi 2 TV in the Tbilisi City Court. Kibar Khalvashi, whose sister Pati Khalvashi has been a lawmaker from the GD ruling coalition since 2012, claims that in case of winning the lawsuit, he will return 50% of shares to only two co-owners of the TV channel – Jarji Akimidze and Davit Dvali. Kibar Khalvashi bought a 60% share from these persons in 2004 through a physical person, Paata Karsanidze.

The ownership dispute around Rustavi 2 TV launched ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections was assessed by local and international organizations as a threat to media pluralism. 

According to TVMR, Rustavi 2 TV is ranked 1st in TV ratings in 2015; according to the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC), the TV channel takes leading position on advertising market with a share of 45.5% in 2015. 

July 18, 2019- Kibar Khalvashi - 60%, Limited Liability Company Panorama LLC - 40%;  General director - Paata Salia;

January 5, 2016 - Levan Karamanishvili 22%, Giorgi Karamanishvili 18%, TV Company Sakartvelo Ltd. 51%, Nino Nizharadze 9%

November 11, 2015- Levan Karamanishvili 22%, Giorgi Karamanishvili 18%, TV Company Sakartvelo Ltd. 51%, Nino Nizharadze 9%

November 6, 2015 -  Levan Karamanishvili 22%, Giorgi Karamanishvili 18%, TV Company Sakartvelo Ltd. 51%, Nino Nizharadze 9%

October 2, 2014 - Present - Levan Karamanishvili 22%, Giorgi Karamanishvili 18%, TV Company Sakartvelo Ltd. 51%, Nino Nizharadze 9%

November 13, 2012 - Giorgi Gegeshidze 9%, Levan Karamanishvili 22%, Giorgi Karamanishvili 18%, TV Company Sakartvelo Ltd. 51%

October 12, 2012 - Giorgi Gegeshidze 10%, Levan Karamanishvili 50%, Giorgi Karamanishvili 40%

October 5, 2012 - Giorgi Gegeshidze 10%, Levan Karamanishvili 50%, "Media Georgia" Ltd. 40%

December 6, 2011 - Giorgi Gegeshidze 10%, Levan Karamanishvili 90%

November 29, 2011 - Degson Limited 70%, Chemexim International Ltd. 30%

2009 - 2011 - Degson Limited 70%, Holding Georgian Industrial Group Ltd. 30%

2008 - Irakli Chikovani 30%, Corporation "Geomedia Group" 40%, Holding Georgian Industrial Group Ltd. 30%

February 7, 2007 – 2008 - Corporation "Geomedia Group" 55%, Holding Georgian Industrial Group Ltd. 45%

December 12, 2006 - Holding Georgian Industrial Group Ltd. 45%, „Delgado Recourses“ Ltd 55%

November 17, 2006 -  Geo-trans Ltd. 78%, Holding Georgian Industrial Group Ltd. 22%

November 2, 2006 - Holding Georgian Industrial Group Ltd. 22%, Kibar Khalvashi 38%, Panorama Ltd. 40%

January 6, 2006 - Saqtsementi Ltd. 22%, Kibar Khalvashi 38%, Panorama Ltd. 40%

November 15, 2004 - Kibar Khalvashi 60%, Panorama Ltd. 40%

June 28, 2004 - Panorama Ltd. 30%, Kibar Khalvashi 60%, Nikoloz Tabatadze 10%

June 16, 2004 - Kibar Khalvashi 60%, Erasti Kitsmarishvili 30%, Nikoloz Tabatadze 10%

June 16, 2004 - Paata Karsanidze 60%, Erasti Kitsmarishvili 30%, Nikoloz Tabatadze 10%

2001-2004 - Davit Dvali 30%, Jarji Aqimidze 30%, Erasti Kitsmarishvili 30%, Nikoloz Tabatadze 10%

1996-2001 - Jarji Aqimidze 33.3%, Davit Dvali 33.3%, Erasti Kitsmarishvili 33.3%

1995-1996 - Information-advertising agency Gama Plus Ltd. - Jarji Aqimidze 40%, Davit Dvali 30%, Erasti Kitsmarishvili 30%

YearTotal commercial income GNCC dataPublic Funds 
201832 257 917724 060
201732 267 166510 544 GEL (as of November 15)
201641 767 099 GEL681 416 GEL
201538 043 088 GEL2 802 956 GEL

 

Top officials were constantly expressing their discontent with the channel’s editorial policy and were accusing the TV channel of bias in favor of the formerly pro-governmental and now opposition National Movement party. They were frequently pointing at the TV channel’s ownership issue.        

Ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who was frequently slammed by a number of local or international observers for his informal rule, was especially critical towards Rustavi 2 TV. Ivanishvili expressed hope for multiple times that the rules of the game would have changed on media market. When announcing about a new TV talk-show called “2030” to be aired by GDS (Georgian Dream Studio), Tbilisi-based television channel owned by his son Bera, Ivanishvili said that the new talk-show will help the society “see developments correctly” in a media landscape, where UNM party and its “propaganda and lie machine” Rustavi 2 TV are still setting the agenda.

Bidzina Ivanishvili said: “UNM’s propaganda machine of lies, Rustavi 2 TV, is unfortunately dominating in the media space; other media outlets are also backing it, making it very difficult for the population to understand what is going on. I think that this project and 2030’s daily programs will make it possible to provide balanced analysis and correct accents, which is so needed for the society… the population should have a clear understanding about the elections, whom they can support and so on. Media analysis plays a huge role in it. And this project [2030 TV program] just aims at offering a qualified analysis to the population that will help them make a good choice during the elections”.

In the interview with Imedi TV, Energy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kakha Kaladze expressed hope that Rustavi 2 TV would be returned to its real owner, and on May 11, 2014, he promised the population “to put an end” to Rustavi 2 TV:

Kakha Kaladze: “It is very bad that Rustavi 2 TV still continues its nine-year shameful activity and propaganda of dirtiness. It should be ended once and forever in this country and we promise the population of our country that it will definitely come to an end".