Can the public find out who owns the media through free access to the essential information required?
It is only possible to finds out who owns broadcast media in Georgia; this is through information reported to the media authority and directly to the public. The Law on Broadcasting requires broadcast media to disclose enough information on the size of shareholdings, beneficial owners and those with indirect interests and control, as well as ownership of broadcast media by offshore companies. Studies suggest that broadcast media ownership is now largely transparent in Georgia. This is in line with the media authority view that media outlets generally report accurately.
Despite the fact that offshore ownership is banned, the law cannot prevent so-called “frontman” ownership. Although national broadcasters must submit some financial information to the GNCC, this information is mostly limited to summary conclusions which usually paint a very positive picture. Full financial transparency would help identify those financing – and in some cases, therefore, controlling- the media
Information on the ownership of print and online media is only available through provisions of corporate law and as such it is not easy to identify the real owners since beneficial ownership through brokerage does not have to be revealed. There are no rules in Georgia which requiring companies to give details of beneficial owners or companies or individuals with an indirect controlling or significant interest.
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