Georgian parliament passes controversial "foreign agent" bill 

  14 May 2024    Read: 245
  Georgian parliament passes controversial "foreign agent" bill 

The Georgian parliament has passed the contentious "Transparency of Foreign Influence" bill in its third reading, requiring foreign-funded non-governmental organizations and media outlets to register and submit annual declarations.

Some 84 MPs voted in favour of the bill, while 30 voted against it, reports citing Georgian media. 

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has announced her intention to veto the bill, although Parliament may override her veto. The bill's passage sparked significant protests and clashes between MPs from the ruling Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia party and opposition parties. Protesters gathered outside the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi, blocking Rustaveli Avenue and a side entrance to the building.

Opponents, including NGOs and civic activists, argue that the bill equates Georgia's allies and adversaries, impeding the country's integration into the EU. They emphasize that it labels and hinders organizations crucial to Georgia's development and foreign relations.

Supporters of the bill cite similar laws in the US, Israel, and Australia, and note that the EU and France are considering such legislation. However, the EU, the US, the UN, NATO, and the Council of Europe have urged Georgia not to adopt the bill.

The bill mandates registration for NGOs and media outlets in a special register if 20% of their annual income comes from foreign sources. These organizations must also file an annual declaration. The government reintroduced the bill, which was previously withdrawn amid protests in March 2023, citing concerns about increased secret funding of radical groups and parties in Georgia.

More about:

News Line