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|Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company|
|Picture format||4:3 SDTV|
|Türksat 3A||11472-H-23450 5/6|
|Hellas Sat 2||11670-H-3720 3/4|
|Available on most cable systems||Check local listings for channels|
|Rustavi 2 LIVE||Free|
Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company (Georgian: სამაუწყებლო კომპანია რუსთავი 2), better known as Rustavi 2, is the most successful private television broadcasting company in Georgia. The Rustavi, based in Tbilisi, was founded in 1994 in the town of Rustavi. It is a privately owned free to air terrestrial broadcaster that currently reaches around 85% of the country's population. The area Rustavi 2 covers outside Georgia via satellite 24-hour broadcasting includes Europe, European part of Russia and the Middle East. Rustavi 2 was first to use digital hardware in Georgia, the first to go on satellite, the first to conduct live foreign transmissions and first to become an Associate member of the European Broadcasting Union. The news service of Rustavi 2 has bureaus and regional reporters in major Georgian cities (Kutaisi, Batumi, Gori, Poti, Zugdidi), as well as the permanent correspondents in Washington D.C., Brussels, and Moscow. The independence of the channel has been questioned in recent years, with many suggesting that it's biased in favor of the former ruling party UNM.
News program "Courier" has aired since the first days of Rustavi 2 (Government Channel) Broadcasting Company’s foundation and has become the most operative and successful news program in Georgia.
The daytime news is anchored by Ana Kinkladze, Keti Kvachantiradze and Natia Goksadze. Diana Jojua and Zaal Udumashvili anchor evening news releases at 18:00 and 21:00, including sports news with Dimitri Oboladze. David Kikalishvili presents "P.S." every Sunday at 21:00.
From 2006 new television season Rustavi 2 airs Business Courier. The program offers in-depth reporting and critical analysis of major business issues today with an emphasis on current events, business development, market outlooks, and emerging opportunities.
P.S. is a weekly analytical and educational summarizing program, which focuses on politics, economics and social problems; the project also covers topical cultural issues. P.S. often reports on various international events related to Georgia.
Rustavi 2′s programming mix includes a wide variety of popular foreign series like Desperate Housewives.
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Rustavi 2 was originally owned by Erosi Kitsmarishvili, David Dvali, Jarji Akimidze and Nika Tabatadze. In July 2004, 90% of the company's shares was bought by the Batumi-based businessman Kibar Khalvashi (who had close ties with the then-Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili) who sold them, in January 2006, to David Bezhuashvili, member of the Parliament of Georgia and brother of Georgia's Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili. In mid-2006 Rustavi 2, the television company Mze TV and radio station Pirveli Stereo merged into a holding which is currently owned by the Georgian Industrial Group (GIG) and GeoMedia Group. GIG, which owns a 45% share of both stations, is a large company with diversified business interests ranging from coal mining and energy to travel. Davit Bezhuashvili, is a founding member of the group. The GeoMedia group is a relatively obscure company registered in the Marshall Islands.
It was formed in 1994 and had been in a strong opposition to Eduard Shevardnadze’s government since then. The Georgian authorities made several attempts to shut R2 down. Giorgi Sanaia, Georgia’s most popular TV journalist, who worked for R2, was murdered in July 2001. It has been considered by many as a political murder related with his programme "Night Courier" and investigations of allegations of official corruption. In October 2001, the security police raid on R2 office resulted in public anger and subsequent mass street demonstrations against the government’s pressure on independent media forced Eduard Shevardnadze to fire his entire cabinet. Rustavi 2 was the main mass media source used as a tribune by the opposition leaders during the Rose Revolution in November 2003.
The opposition in Georgia has accused Rustavi 2 of being little better than a propaganda station for the government - for instance broadcasting details of the 2009 Freedom House report on Russia but ignoring completely the report's criticism of Georgia.