If the funding transparency law works well in the US, it would also work in Georgia

Kakha Kaladze, the mayor of Tbilisi and general secretary of the ruling Georgian Dream party, commented on Thursday on the controversy surrounding the draft law on transparency of foreign influence, saying that a similar law that works well in the United States means that the law would also work in Georgia if approved.

Kaladze commented on the bill proposed by People's Power, a public movement made up of former members of the ruling Georgian Dream party, which provides for the registration of non-commercial legal entities and media companies as “agents of foreign influence” if they have more of them have more than 20 percent of their income from abroad.

His proposal was met with backlash from the domestic opposition, civil sector and diplomatic missions in the country, who claimed that the possible passage of the bill would pose a potential threat to democratic principles.

In his response, Kaladze said the bill was “all about transparency” and challenged his opponents by asking: “If a similar law works well in America, why should it be bad for us?”

The party official said the law was “necessary” to ensure “greater transparency” and inform the public about “where and how this or that organization is funded.”

I want to say again that this bill is all about transparency. We can list a number of countries that have a similar law and where no problem has arisen [from it]. I am sure there will be no problem in Georgia either,” the DG official said.

The official claimed there was an attempt to portray the initiative as a “Russian bill” – a reference to public protests linked to a law in Russia that brands foreign-funded organizations and media outlets as “foreign agents” – , but said: “No one” The claim “went into depth” of its content.

If such a law works well in America, why can't it work here? Why should it be bad for us? There are countries that are unfriendly towards Georgia and are funding various organizations, which could be a problem for us and Europe tomorrow. So why are they worried when we talk about the need for transparency in this direction?,” he noted, adding that the bill has “nothing to do” with Russian law.

The United Nations office in Georgia said on Sunday that the passage of the bill “risks hindering the work of civil society and the media and their essential contribution to Georgia's democracy.”