On 24 October 2015, the former Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, assessed the latest developments in the country. Mr Ivanishvili also discussed the legal dispute with regard to Rustavi 2 and asserted that the channel is organising 2,000 support rallies with some of the protesters paid for their protests and some of them as relatives and friends of the company. In light of this background, therefore, there is no danger of civil strife in his opinion. The former Prime Minister also offered a criticism of the current President of Georgia and stated that it was his greatest mistake to talk about the dangers of civil strife in the context of the Rustavi 2 affair. Mr Ivanishvili claimed that anyone making these sorts of statements wants to justify the United National Movement. According to Mr Ivanishvili, the President is trying to rehabilitate the "weakened" United National Movement and his statement was motivated exactly from his support for the party. The former Prime Minister stated: "Let us see, two hours after his statement, the New York Times

published an article and praised the President’s words." Mr Ivanishvili thinks that the former Ambassador of Georgia to the USA, Temur Yakobashvili, or "someone like him," helped the President of Georgia publish the article.


tried to study the issue and verified the accuracy of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statement.

On 22 October 2015, the President of Georgia held a special briefing during which he declared that the latest developments in the country have worsened the political climate and created the ground for the violation of constitutional order as well as civil strife.  The President reminded the Government of Georgia that the protection of constitutional order was its direct responsibility. Giorgi Margvelashvili also assessed the Prime Minister’s remarks and stated that instead of a de-escalation of the situation, Mr Gharibashvili’s statement added tension to an already difficult issue. The President also asked the judge who is dealing with the Rustavi 2 affair to refrain from hasty and rigid decisions.

The briefing of the President of Georgia started at 12:20 pm Tbilisi time and, respectively, at 04:20 am New York time. The New York Times posted an Associated Press news

 article, entitled "Georgia’s President Calls for Calm Amid TV Station Row," on its own website at 08:30 am; that is, four hours after the President’s statement.

The news article states that the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, asked all political parties to help resolve the row around the country’s most popular television channel. The article also mentions that the situation around Rustavi 2 is the first major political crisis in Georgia since Mr Margvelashvili took power in 2013. According to Associated Press information, President Margvelashvili warned that the case could lead to civil disturbance and called upon the court to take no hasty decisions. The article also cites President Margvelashvili directly: "In light of the present situation, I am launching consultations with political parties, NGOs and diplomats in order to preserve civil stability, peace and constitutional order in our country." The news also emphasises that Mr Margvelashvili won the 2013 election as an ally of Bidzina Ivanishvili but has since sought to carve out an independent role.

As we have already mentioned, the New York Times, in its online edition, published the unaltered news article about recent developments in Georgia as prepared by the Associated Press. Therefore, it is not an editorial column, blog, or article written by one of the authors of the New York Times which might have reflected a certain attitude of the editors. Of note is that it is a widespread practice for one media outlet to publish material prepared by another information agency, in an unaltered form and with due reference. Additionally, of mention is that during the day of the publication of the aforementioned news article (22 October), the New York Times also published several other news items from the Associated Press and Reuters. One of them is the Reuters news article

 which concerns a critical statement of the OSCE representative, Dunja Mijatovic, about the processes around the Rustavi 2 TV channel.

Conclusion After four hours from the time of the briefing of the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, the New York Times did indeed publish an news article about Mr Margvelashvili’s statement on its website. The aforementioned article bears an informative character and is reposted from the Associated Press in an unaltered form. There are no parts in the article which "praise" the President of Georgia.  Moreover, it is not an editorial, blog or an article written by a New York Times journalist. On the same day (22 October), the New York Times

published multiple other news articles from the Associated Press and other news agencies which is a widespread media practice. Therefore, it is wrong to state that the article was paid which was implied in the context of the former Prime Minister’s statement.

FactCheck concludes that Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statement is FALSE.