One More  Insolence of the Power

One More Insolence of the Power

Professor of constitutional law Vakhtang Khmaladze who is a member of initiative group assembled with journalists and media experts says while meting with presa.GE that one of the bills among the two ones made by the authority for exposing real owners of broadcasting companies is bullying people but nothing.  


What is the key  shortcoming of the bill passed by the power?

Vakhtang Khmaladze: If everything was made in  an ideal way in the part of estate transparency, it would not be sufficient for the fact that the issue of broadcasting companies ownership would be transparent for the society, because nothing is said about financial transparency in the bill presented by the four deputies. 


In addition, what they presented is rather imperfect and we assure you that by adopting it nothing can be improved in the current situation, as according to the represented bill, 10% of shares of broadcasting companies may belong to a legal person registered in offshore zone and consequently, nobody will be informed  anything about this legal person – who stands behind them? who are they?  what is their financial origin?  Are  their finances and source of finance drugs trafficking? Is it trafficking or trading with arms? Is it the other state’s money among them Georgia’s hostile country’s one? Is it the money of any political party acting in Georgia?


All these facts  are very dangerous. As you know  broadcasting companies bear  rather strong influence on public opinion formation.


One of the adopters  of the bill says that owing 10% share does not give an opportunity to manage the company….

– I can not agree with Mr. Kublashvili in any way, as it is quite possible that simultaneously with 10%, more that 40% shares can be of one or more other owners. i.e. the shares of one group can be more that 5%  totally. Real financing is made by a person registered in offshore zone and that is why it really influences on the policy and activity of the broadcasting company.   


Why did they make such formulation about offshore in the bill?

– Resulting from the effects, I can say only one thing – today, it is possible that  the person registered in an  offshore zone be a full  owner of the company. A big scandal was  raised about it  a long time ago – dissatisfaction occurs in Georgian society and international circles too; Besides, it is known for the authorities that one group made the relevant bills in order to solve this and for demonstrating it by the authorities – we choose transparency ourselves, we demand ourselves to expose the people  who are the TV company owners.


The bill about media transparency  presented by them is really bullying people. I say once more – it does not matter whether the person registered in  off shore zone is a full or partial owner of the shares. Because it is the trick that does  not be change the situation  by   fixing 10 percent or 5 percent, as just from a small ownership at a glance all bad things can happen when the ownership totally belongs to a person registered in off shore zone.  


In what do you see a way out?

- We have often appeared in a situation when we had to prove that two times two is four; In this case, we are answered that  two times two is not four. The entire society should strongly react on this specific fact, they should demand the changes we really need.  Otherwise, I can not foresee any way out and chance the authorities would really  uncover ownership and make financial activity transparent.


Specifically how do you conceive the influence on the power? 

– First of all, by means of media – by press, radio and the TV stations that are available for  the society. Well, there can be many ways; For example, demands from political parties. i.e. all the mechanisms which are allowed by the law should be used.  


If such influence does not happen and the population expresses the same inertial attitude as it happened towards the constitutional amendments, then probability of progress will be very low. Of course, international influence will be  of great importance too. 


Our initiative group hold the conference where the diplomatic representatives accredited in Georgia took part. There were ambassadors and  deputy ambassadors and we got them informed with it.


And what did the ambassadors say? Can they help?

– Ambassadors never say such things directly. There are direct and indirect means of influence – pieces of advise about desirability to be so; This is an assessment of a reality and  one more important thing is that we are favored by recommendations that exist on European Council and European Union level. We are not a member of European Union but we surely say we tend  towards  European Union. Thus, we must try and fulfill these recommendations.  


Also we are a member of European Council and we must carry out their recommendations. Perhaps, there will not be any moves very soon or  suddenly, but all measures must be taken in order  progress to be made.