“Foreign Agent Law” threatening civil society and independent media in Georgia

Despite protests from Georgian independent media and civil society, the Georgian parliament has registered a so-called “Foreign Agent” bill. The legislation is threatening the work of civil society organisations and media in the country. Civil Rights Defenders expresses its deep concern about the bill that, if approved, will undermine democracy and civil society in the country.

The proposed law would make all non-governmental organisations and media outlets that receive more than twenty percent of their funding from abroad register as ‘agents of foreign influence’ in a separate registry. The draft law would also authorise the Ministry of Justice to investigate and monitor organisations they deem to be agents of foreign influence. This might also include requesting access to personal data. The proposed law risks increasing the government’s control over media and civil society and can be used as a tool to crack down on dissent in the country.

Georgian civil society and independent media have a crucial role for the future of Georgia, its democratic development, and the upholding of human rights. We urge the members of the Parliament of Georgia to respect the freedom of association and expression in the country and not adopt the proposed legislation.