Offshore-registered firms will be banned to own shares in broadcasters in Georgia, according to the draft law passed by the Parliament with its first hearing on December 7.
The initial draft, proposed by the ruling National Movement party, allowed offshore-registered firms to own maximum of 10% of shares. The proposal was criticized with the opponents saying that limiting and not banning ownership by offshore firms was not in line with the principle of "full transparency" of broadcasters' ownership, announced by the authorities in October.
A senior ruling party lawmaker, Pavle Kublashvili, co-sponsor of the draft, said during the parliamentary hearings on December 7, that opponents' opinion was heeded and it was agreed to impose an outright ban on ownership of broadcasters by offshore firms.
Another source of criticism by the opponents is the draft's failure to address financial transparency of broadcasters. Critics say that without such provision it would remain impossible to track financial resources of the broadcasters and not in line with the principle of "full transparency".
MP Pavle Kublashvili, who chairs parliamentary committee on legal affairs, said that the ruling party would further consider this issue with all the stakeholders and take the decision by the time when the draft would be discussed by the Parliament with its second reading.