freedom of speech

Georgia parliament approves ‘foreign influence’ bill


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On Tuesday, the Parliament of Georgia approved the controversial “foreign agents” bill in the third and final reading. The bill has caused widespread protests against the bill’s threat to democracy.


The bill was approved by 84 parliament members. 30 members voted against it.


The draft law mandates nonprofit legal entities and media outlets that receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad register as “agents of foreign influence.” These entities must publish an annual financial report. The draft law also empowers the Ministry of Justice to monitor and identify “an organization that fulfills the interests of a foreign state.”


Representatives of the opposition and the civil society in Georgia consider the bill to be aimed at repressing non-governmental organizations and free media outlets that aren’t controlled by the authorities. They emphasize that this law repeats 2012 legislation on “agents of foreign influence” in Russia.


Massive protests have occurred throughout Georgia since the draft law was first considered in March 2023.


As reported earlier, Ukrainian NGOs have appealed to the international community to protect the sovereignty of the Georgian people and their human rights, which are being violated by the “agents of foreign influence” bill approved by parliament.


“We, representatives of Ukrainian society, independent civil society organizations, are watching with pain the events in Georgia that erupted during the persistent actions of the current government in Georgia to pass the “agents of foreign influence” bill in the Georgian parliament,” the statement reads.


“Georgia is in danger of total establishment of a dictatorship and the dismantling of the European integration course of the state because a bill that has much in common with Russian approaches contradicts the principles and norms of European law and the democratic world. Ukrainians do not need to explain who is actually the main beneficiary of these events. It is the Putin regime, which acted in a similar scenario in Ukraine in early 2014,” is added.


“I spent six hours in the streets today. And so have my friends and colleagues for nearly a month. I have no doubt that we will win,” commented David Kakabadze, the head of Siesta Publishing (Georgia)


Main image: Zurab Tsertsvadze/AP Photo/picture alliance


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Translation: Iryna Saviuk
Copy editing: Terra Friedman King