Georgia May Adopt Controversial 'Foreign Agent' Law – NRK Urix – Foreign News and Documentaries

Georgia May Adopt Controversial 'Foreign Agent' Law – NRK Urix – Foreign News and Documentaries

This does not happen without resistance. On Monday, large demonstrations broke out again in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi:

We would like to say that we do not support this law. This is not good for our future in Europe,” medical student Nodar, who did not want to give his last name, told Reuters news agency on Monday.

He was among the students who attended to show their opposition to the bill.

Last month, there were almost daily demonstrations in the country's capital. Saturday's protests were among the largest since Georgia's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, according to Reuters.

Police officers and protesters clashed in Tbilisi on Monday.

Photo: Zurab Tsertsvadze/AP

Challenge the opposition

The gist of the matter is this: a controversial bill is expected to be adopted by the National Assembly on Tuesday. If this happens, organizations and companies in Georgia that receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad must register themselves as “agents under foreign influence.”

– The law will give the authorities the right to inspect, prosecute and fine organizations and media, which monitor Georgia to move in the democratic direction, Amnesty Norway's senior advisor, Anne Tosvik Bond, tells NRK on Tuesday morning.

She stressed that this would affect the independent media in Georgia, which relies entirely on international support to do its work.

The law was drafted by the ruling Georgian Dream party, which is considered friendly to Russia.

Prime Minister and party leader Irakli Kobakhidze promised on Monday evening that the law would become a reality:

– He said that tomorrow the National Assembly of Georgia will follow the will of the majority of the population and adopt the law, according to what NTB reported.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze attended an event in support of the bill in Tbilisi on April 29.

Photography: Irakli Gidinidze/Reuters

“Copy” of Russia

Supporters of the law claim that it will stop foreign interference and provide greater visibility into who funds various organizations, the American radio station writes NPR.

Critics claim the law is taken directly from Russia and the regime of President Vladimir Putin.

– This is Russian law. It is an exact copy of Putin's law that was introduced five years ago and later expanded to crush civil society. This is what Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said in an interview with CNN in April.

She believes the draft law may hamper the country's attempts to join the European Union. And Russia is actually the one pulling the strings.

The EU also warned that the law could become an obstacle to Georgia's membership.

Police officers and a flag bearing the symbols of the European Union and Georgia.

Large numbers of police officers were present on Monday in connection with the protests.

Photo: Zurab Tsertsvadze/AP

Annie Tosvik Bond believes it is no coincidence that the law has been introduced now:

– There are elections in the fall. It is a way to prevent the opposition and independent civil society from being a critical voice in the future.

It also criticizes the way the authorities and police dealt with the protests.

– They are suppressing and hounding the critical voices that are central to the demonstrations – which are, ultimately, peaceful, she said.

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05/14/2024 at 07.24

05/14/2024 at 07.51

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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