Georgian PM highlights role of transparency law in “increasing international donors’ responsibility” over NGOs activities

In his interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Kobakhidze said the law would serve as a “protection mechanism against many things”. Photo: Government Administration, 23 May 2024 - 11:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze on Wednesday claimed the controversial domestic law on transparency of foreign influence would contribute to “increasing the responsibility of international donors” of domestic non-governmental organisations “in a qualitative manner”.

In his interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Kobakhidze said the law would serve as a “protection mechanism against many things”.

“They will struggle to continue their activities openly with foreign funding - for example, to attack the [Georgian Orthodox Christian] Church or carry out LGBT propaganda. That is why some people are afraid of transparency, that they will have to give up certain wrong practices”, he claimed.

The public will find out who funded the [civic] movement Shame or similar organisations, which openly attack the Orthodox Church, directly engage in propaganda against the Orthodox Church, engage in drug propaganda, are involved in a thousand vices, they are directly involved in inciting radicalism”, the PM said.

He further added the public would “see who was contributing to the polarisation of the situation inside the country” thanks to the recently adopted law.

When the public will clearly see who stands behind specific organisations, of course, it will be difficult for these organisations to directly and rudely engage in revolutionary processes, to demand the resignation of the Government”, he continued.

Kobakhidze stressed “liquidation” of non-governmental organisations using the law was not on the agenda.

The only thing that is provided by law is a fine [for failing to disclose financing sources]. No other sanction is provided. Fines may be added over time, but non-payment of fines does not result in liquidation. If they act dishonestly and do not provide information, they will ultimately have to pay a fine. The Ministry of Justice will investigate the information about an organisation and itself will make public the information only about finances, income and expenses”, the Government head told the interview.

He further alleged “non-transparency” was “one of the main tools” that had “enabled specific entities to try twice to set up a revolution in the country” in 2021 and 2022.

Kobakhidze added ending the polarisation required “transparency of the political process”, claiming transparency of NGOs “means just that”.

The Parliament last week adopted the law, which requires groups “considered to be an organisation pursuing the interests of a foreign power” - determined by more than 20 percent of their funding coming from abroad - to be registered in the public registry with the status and publicise their received funding.