We, the people of Georgia, strongly oppose the bill initiated by the members of the Parliamentary Majority, also endorsed by the Speaker of Parliament and other MPs. We declare that the attempts to adopt this Russian bill attack not only the independent civil society organizations and the critical media, but the people of Georgia themselves.

This bill aims to leave defenseless the abused children and women; people with disabilities, minorities, scientists, workers, and the youth; to not provide assistance to the socially vulnerable families, farmers, miners, internally displaced, homeless, illegally laid off, detained, and other people fighting for their rights; to mute the voice of the people living in the peripheries of the country that can only communicate their troubles through the independent media.

This draft legislation acts as a response to the numerous facts of violence, corruption, lawlessness, and arbitrary execution of the laws that we, the civil society and the critical media, study and make public.

When Putin adopted a similar law in Russia, many organizations chose to disband rather than comply with its requirements. Those that continued to operate faced increased control, harassment, and repressions. This is not the type of governance that we have fought for many years to achieve, and Russian law is certainly not the type of governance that Georgian citizens aspire to have in our country.

Adopting this bill will amount to an attack on the key Georgian values of dignity, independence and solidarity with our communities and fellow people. Adopting this bill will amount to an onslaught not only against civil society and our democracy but will also damage our aspirations of Euro-Atlantic development. This law will obstruct our path to membership of the EU as this law was found illegal in the EU. Moreover, the execution of this law will be impossible without causing insurmountable harm to hundreds of thousands of citizens of Georgia.

Legislative Brief by Civic IDEA  regarding the “Foreign agents’” draft law  initiated by the parliamentary group “The People’s Power”

Legislative Brief by Civic IDEA  regarding the “Foreign agents’” draft law  initiated by the parliamentary group “The People’s Power”

In the beginning, it must be unequivocally said that the draft law is dangerous and discriminatory and significantly distances us from the declared goal of joining the European Union; therefore, it goes against the constitution and the choice of the Georgian people.

Today, the initiation and support of such a law by the ruling party in Georgia, the content and goals of which have been negatively evaluated by all structures and all member states of the European Union, and which the Court of Justice of the European Union has declared[1] to be contrary to the legislation of the European Union, clearly represents another attempt by the Georgian authorities to distance the country from the perspective of European integration.

Since applying for candidate status, this is not their first step, which goes contrary to the purpose of EU membership. However, we can undoubtedly say that among the anti-integration steps taken during the year-long process, the adoption of this bill will be the most glaring proof of the ruling party’s anti-EU and isolationist policy.

At the same time, we should not forget that the main inspirer and first initiator of such legislation were the Russian Federation, where the enactment of the law resulted in mass persecution, arrests, and in many cases expulsion of non-governmental organizations, their founders, and employees.

Why is the draft law incompatible with democracy and EU standards?

The bill is unequivocally anti-European, or more precisely anti-EU.

Not only experts and non-governmental organizations but also the International Court have unambiguous positions on this issue. Its analog, the Hungarian law, was recognized by the Court of Justice of the European Union as contrary to EU laws and other multiple acts in 2020 (in the case of Commission vs. Hungary). It is to be mentioned that Hungary annulled legislation 2021.

The Court held that “by imposing obligations of registration, declaration, and publication on certain categories of civil society organizations directly or indirectly receiving support from abroad exceeding a certain threshold and providing for the possibility of applying penalties to organizations that do not comply with those obligations, Hungary had introduced discriminatory and unjustified restrictions with regard to both the organizations at issue and the persons granting them such support.”

The Luxembourg court found that the law –

– Is discriminatory;

– Violates the right to freedom of association;

– Violates the right to privacy and privacy of personal information;

The law contradicts one of the fundamental rights of the creation and existence of the European Union – Free movement of capital – the transactions covered by the Transparency Law fell within the scope of the concept of ‘movements of capital’ in Article 63(1) TFEU and that the law in question constitutes a restrictive measure of a discriminatory nature.

Why did the court find multiple violations of the law and why is such legislation anti-democratic?

1. It is discriminatory for the following reasons:

a. It differentiates organizations with identical mandates and activities and imposes restrictions only on one segment of operating private entities, NGOs on a discriminatory basis.

It is unclear on what principle non-profit organizations are selected for such “transparency scrutiny” and not LTDs, LEPLs, state agencies, or any other legal entity with similar activities and the same sources of funding.

Financial resources raised by non-governmental organizations are the same as investments by LTDs or legal entities under public law. Both create jobs or delivered services and goods with this money.

For example, let us consider the case of three organizations:

– The law firm (ltd)

– Public Legal Aid Bureau (a legal entity under public law)

– Legal aid center of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (NGO)

All three organizations are engaged in absolutely identical activities, providing legal consultations, representing persons in court or with other bodies, assisting in preparing legal documents, and others. The only difference between them is that one takes money for this service from the client, the second receives funding from the budget, and the third will seek financial support from outside the country and will serve the citizens of Georgia for free with the help of foreign donors.

Meanwhile, we often have cases when within the framework of different donor programs, like, small business support and state institutional strengthening programs, it may turn out that the source of funding is the same; for instance, USAID can be the one that finances the non-governmental organizations, but the difference is that the first still continues to receive payment for services from clients, the second receives money from the budget and the third one continues to serve the people in need free of charge and entirely selflessly.

What does the new bill say?

Despite this uniformity, both in terms of activities and funding, only an NGO has to claim the status of “agent of a foreign country”, and all obligations apply only to them.

Therefore, it is probably not surprising that the EU court unquestionably established the discriminatory nature of the law in a similar Hungarian case.

b. The authors of the draft law say that such organizations influence public opinion and the decision-making process, which is the basis for the need for new legislation and the equalization of non-governmental organizations with political public entities.

This argument is not one of a kind either since the Hungarian legislation indicated the same argument, although they forgot to draw a sharp line. The argument is not unique because the Luxembourg court discussed this matter and unequivocally determined that, in reality, regardless of the nature of the organization’s activity, the law always applied to non-governmental organizations if 20 percent of their funding comes from foreign states or foundations, and that is why it is discriminatory.

If we judge on the example of the Young Lawyers’ Association, how does the law address that? Will their legal aid or education programs and the resources used for them separated from the rest of their activities and declared accordingly?

Or to exclude discrimination again and again, what do the authors of the law say about the construction companies financed by the European investment who lobby for the construction code and standards, or pharmaceutical companies and others? Are they obligated to declare and affix the status of “agent of a foreign country” to their objects? Or, what does the law say about legal entities under public law? Due to similar activities, do they also become carriers of the status of “agent of a foreign country”?

The prohibition of “money laundering, financing of terrorism, and organized crime” established by numerous international documents, as well as all measures that equal to such actions, are the only cases where any restrictions, additional registration obligations, or other requirements can be considered legitimate.

c. The draft law also contradicts the norms of freedom of association recognized by the Constitution and International law.

2. Initiators of the draft, as well as ruling party representatives and their supporters, claim similarity with the US law on Foreign agents and by that challenge legitimacy of the controversy around it. It is to be said clearly that the proposed legislation is absolutely distinctive from the US FARA both in terms of the purpose of the law and the scope of the issues covered. Here are some of the issues to be outlined.

The subjects of the proposed Georgian legislation are exclusively only NGOs and media organizations, while FARA does not discriminate by type of organization and is purpose oriented;

 Georgian legislation labels all NGOs and media entities as “foreign Agents” as long as 20 percent of their finances come from foreign sources regardless of the nature and purpose of the activities, even purely humanitarian aid delivery NGOs will be declared as foreign agents;

The subject of US FARA is anyone (legal or physical person) as long as they are “paid lobbyists” of a foreign principle “to influence the public decision-making process in both the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government”;

To make this difference even more clear here is an example. The Georgian government usually has paid lobbyists in Washington to lobby the interests of Georgia with the US government. All of them are registered under the FARA regulations, and transparency rules established by US law make it possible not only for the American taxpayers but also for us to see those contracts and activities carried out in the name of Georgia by hired lobbyists. In most cases, those companies are american Law firms or PR agencies and almost never non-profits. So, a law firm in the US hired by the Georgian government to lobby Georgia’s interests in Senate goes through the registration process and falls under the category of foreign agents. This is all US FARA regulates.

Now, the proposed Georgian draft law says that only NGOs or media organizations say the Georgian Red Cross, needs to go through registration and becomes foreign agent as soon as they get money from e.g. Swiss government for humanitarian aid to be distributed among IDPs from South Ossetia. But if there is a Georgian Law firm representing Iranian companies and lobbying on their behalf to avoid sanctions and ease regulations with the government of Georgia, they do not fall under the regulation of the law and do not need to be transparent about funding or their activities.

We believe that these two cases show the real difference and also the real reason behind the proposed legislation. Not the disclosure of foreign influence operations in Georgia and the funding behind it, but a witch hunt against NGOs.

If we imagine for a moment that the draft law will be passed and implemented on a full scale without discrimination and will declare all organizations funded by international donor organizations as “agents of foreign influence”, we will see similar inscriptions on the uniforms of the Georgian military next to the Georgian flag, on the equipment of the Georgian policemen, on the buildings and structures of all secondary schools, on the complete set of weapons of the country. Moreover, scientists of almost all universities, researchers who can continue their activities precisely because of the existence of such grants, a significant part of students who have scholarships from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Erasmus, or other similar programs, doctors and patients who receive medicines or medical care free of charge within the framework of such assistance should be declared foreign agents as well. It needs to be said that if it were not for the efforts and programs of our strategic partner countries, and especially the donor organizations registered in the USA, we might have insurmountable problems of fighting for survival due to mass hunger, “C” hepatitis, and many other reasons.

Despite all the above-mentioned legal arguments, which are already known to government officials, the initiation of the project and the silence of the ruling party on its Russian and discriminatory nature once again confirm the real goal of the Georgian Dream, to use all means at its disposal to delay the process of rapprochement with the European Union and complete de-Europeanization of the country.

The answer to the question frequently asked by government supporters about why should the ruling party do this and what is its interest is more trivial because the Georgian Dream, like any other party leaning towards authoritarianism, is afraid of Europe, which brings democracy, freedom, an environment free from discrimination, fear and state terror.

We appeal to the opposition parties in the parliament to ensure a quick and complete delivery of information about the mentioned bill to all our partner countries and international organizations, to use the resources of various parliamentary assemblies and monitoring committees to make the issue of political responsibility of the government team inevitable in case the law is adopted.

Monitoring report on media coverage of the implementation of the EU 12-point plan

As part of the project “Civil Monitoring of Accountability, Transparency and Anti-Corruption Activities within the Framework of the 12 Recommendations of the European Union,” hereby we present a report on the monitoring of media coverage that has been prepared by the Virtual Democracy Academy in cooperation with Civic IDEA.

The media monitoring aimed to study:

How frequently and in what tone (positive/negative/neutral) have televisions and online media covered the process of implementing the 12 recommendations;

Whether according to the tone of the coverage, there was any bias towards any issue or a position on the part of televisions and online media;

To what extent the work on the plan was at the center of media attention and in what form was the information distributed to the public;

Whether a certain balance was maintained between various points of the recommendations in disseminating information to the public or if the media prepared stories and analytical materials only on some specific points;

Whether the balance was maintained in communicating to the public the positions of different political entities, etc.

The media monitoring took place from the 1st of October to 30 December, 2022.

The main findings of the monitoring:

✅ The monitoring showed that of 12 recommendations, the issue of “deoligarchization” and all the relevant work on the “deoligarchization” law proved to be the most popular among Georgian media organizations. The mentioned subject was covered most often and with different interpretations by various media outlets. The media’s interest in the subject increased as in the proposed legislation, the owners of media outlets, along with other persons, became the target of the proposed legislation;

✅ Broadcasting media is extremely polarized. Some broadcasters are biased in favour of the government and its positions, while others are biased in favour of the opposition; Tmedi TV covered the EU recommendations extensively. However, the issue itself was not presented to the viewers on many sides and in a balanced manner. The channel was biased towards the government and, therefore, the issue was covered in a tone supporting the government’s position. However, the opposition was only mentioned negatively and as a player impeding the country’s progress toward European integration. The TV presenters and journalists did not shy away from a cynical attitude towards the opposition, nongovernmental sector, MEPs, and ambassadors. The TV channel did not invite representatives of the opposition party to its programs (only the political party Girchi and the party Citizens were invited);

TV Pirveli covered the topic of the 12 recommendations of the European Union in a weak and unilateral way, and it is just to note that the representatives of the government, the ruling party refused to visit the TV company. The channel carried only the opposition opinions in its talk shows, while the government’s position was offered to viewers in its news broadcasts, albeit in a negative context. TV Pirveli strongly criticizes the government, and the Government’s European integration policy has been regarded as negative – obstructing the country’s progress;

Palitranews TV stood out with a more balanced and neutral tone when presenting the 12-point plan. They covered the views of both the government and the opposition, as well as representatives of the nongovernmental sector. However, most of the news were trivial statements of the government or the opposition representatives. The subject of the 12 recommendations for a few times was the main topic of programs in political “talk shows”, and these programs were balanced in content. No bias towards any political party was apparent on the channel while covering the issues. Representatives from different political groups participated in the programs and diversity of opinions was more or less preserved. However, it should be noted that often the last guest on the program was a government representative. There were no debates on the channel;

Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) has spent considerable time on the issue of obtaining the candidate status and the process of implementing the recommendations of the European Union. The broadcaster had several attempts to conduct the coverage of the issue with less intensity, but at the same time – in an unbiased way. However, it was characterized by a tendency toward the government’s positions and by more or less loyal attitudes. In addition, they frequently devoted time to the positions of government representatives, both in the main news program and in political talk shows. There is a tendency on the channel to end the stories with assessments by the leaders of the ruling party, the Georgian Dream;

✅ Strong political polarization was less felt in online media compared to TV media. However, one of the three selected agencies – the stood out for its loyal attitudes towards the government, by a positive tone of coverage, while expressed less interest in presenting the process in general and was more characterized by a negative tone of coverage. As far as is concerned, it covered almost all news from all parties. The tone of the coverage was mostly neutral, albeit trivial;

✅ The biggest challenge of the online media was the superficial coverage of the work on the 12 recommendations; The news agencies selected for monitoring were not able to cover the issues in depth.

For the full report, please visit 👇

Civic IDEA joined the Freedom House initiative “The Iranian Struggle for Freedom: A Call for Global Solidarity”

Civic IDEA has joined the Freedom House initiative “The Iranian Struggle for Freedom: A Call for Global Solidarity”, to support the Iranian protesters who marched in the streets demanding freedom and democracy in Iran.

Read and sign the “The Iranian Struggle for Freedom: A Call for Global Solidarity”, here: 👇

China Watch Report 12 Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Co Ltd in Georgia

For four years, Civic IDEA yearly has been publishing several reports about the Chinese companies that, within the framework of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, actively continue to operate in the Georgian market, and more specifically in the infrastructure sector of Georgia, and are responsible for the construction of the main highway, roads, bridges and on the construction of tunnels. If you move from the Eastern part of Georgia to the Western part of Georgia, you will find many abbreviations of different Chinese companies on your way while going through the Ricoti Mountain pass. This is exactly the pass where the construction of a 51.6 km long road is planned, which includes 96 bridges and 53 tunnels. 

In our reports, we have already reviewed the activities of China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited and China Road and Bridge Corporation in Georgia and the related misconduct based on a comparative analysis of foreign examples. This time we offer an analysis of the projects won by Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group in Georgia and its shady practices in Uganda and mainland China. 

For the full report, please visit  👇

Civic IDEA participated in China In The World Summit

On December 6-7, in Berlin, Civic IDEA, together with its partner experts from Central Asia, participated in China In The World (CITW) Summit and led two sessions: “Economic Security – Impact of BRI” & “Shifting loyalties: Central Asian states leaning towards China in the light of Ukraine War”. The CITW is held annually and brings together activists, academics, civil society members, journalists and other stakeholders to improve understanding of China’s global influence and strengthen democratic resilience. The Taiwanese NGO Doublethink Lab organizes CITW summits to encourage dialogue, exchange ideas, and promote new collaborations. During the sessions, the speakers and the audience discussed the PRC’s Belt and Road Initiative and its impact on Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Georgia, Digital Silk Road (DSR) and its incentives, notorious Chinese companies affecting the economic and technology and political sectors, as well as Central Asia’s and China’s positioning on Ukraine war.

The speakers involved:

Tinatin Khidasheli – Chairperson, Civic IDEA

Ani Kintsurashvili – Senior Researcher, Civic IDEA

Abbos Bobokhonov – Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced International Studies

Danil Bekturganov – Director, NGO “ Civil Expertise”

Umedjon Majidi – Part-time fellow, Civic IDEA

The sessions were moderated by Salome Svanidze – Executive Assistant, Civic IDEA. Civic IDEA is particularly grateful to Doublethink Lab, the Open Society Foundation in Kazakhstan and U.S. Consulate General in Almaty.

The security risks carried by the Chinese tech frontrunner Huawei

For more information, please visit the link 👇


  • its cooperation with the Georgian government,
  • fraudulent activities related to Georgian and foreign tender procedures,
  • malfunctions of its security equipment,
  • corruption scandals worldwide.

Back then, our team has already stressed out the high-security risks threatening the national security of those states, where Nuctech has operated.

For more information, please visit the link 👇

Anti-Corruption In Practice: Exploring Symbiotic Dynamics Between The NACC, Civil Society And Investigative Journalists

The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) in partnership with the National Democratic Institute would like to invite you to a hybrid roundtable discussion on:
Anti-Corruption in Practice: Exploring Symbiotic Dynamics Between the NACC, Civil Society and Investigative Journalists

Date: Friday, November 25, 2022
Where: Online, Zoom (Zoom link will be sent after the closing of registration)
Time: 15:00 – 17:00
Language: English and Arabic with simultaneous interpretation
Registration deadline: Thursday,  November 24, 2022  at 23:59
Organized by: Lebanese Center for Policy Studies  
Moderated by: Ali Taha, Researcher at LCPS

In recent years, Lebanon has passed a number of anti-corruption laws such as on the right to access information, asset declaration and illicit enrichment. These reforms are nonetheless mere legal tools to achieve an arduous end that is accountability. Oversight bodies such as the newly appointed National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), can serve as an enabling channel for the utilization of such legal tools in combating corruption, and guaranteeing transparency. The commission however has a long journey ahead of it, one that is fraught with all sorts of political, financial, and administrative challenges.

The discrepancy between the spread of corruption in Lebanon’s public sector, and the institutional resources that could be made available to it in times of fiscal austerity, lower expectations as to its effectiveness. Political pressure and meddling which have in the past curbed and nullified attempts at promoting accountability in government, also elicit similar cynicism. Although very real, these challenges do not justify a premature surrender of anti-corruption ambitions. Instead, civil society, investigative journalists and the public at large should play a proactive role to mitigate such challenges, by supporting and overseeing the work of the NACC. 

This roundtable comes as a kickstarter for an essentially technical discussion, on the ideal dynamics that should govern the relation of the NACC with civil society organizations and investigative journalists. Specifically, how can they both support and oversee the commission, and using what tools?  


Tinatin Khidasheli

Chairperson, Civic IDEA

Julien Courson 

Executive Director, LTA

Layal Bou Moussa 

Investigative Journalist, Al Jadeed TV


Civic IDEA’s 11th China Watch report discusses the controversies around China’s state-owned nuclear company China Nuclear Industry 23 Construction Co., Ltd., alternatively referred to as “CNNC No.23” or CNI23 operating since 1958. There is no record provided by internet sources about the misconduct related to particularly CNI23 and its representation in different states. Nevertheless, some problems and scandals are still associated with its founding investor firms: China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear Power Engineering Co., Ltd. China General Nuclear Power Engineering Co., Ltd. first appeared on the Georgian market in 2012 and since then has won several state procurements and made private investments.

For more information about the CNI23, see the attachment below: 👇