TI: Georgian Parliament Must Reject Proposed “Foreign Agents” Law

Transparency International announced on February 22 that it is “alarmed” by and calls against the adoption of a proposed law on foreign agents, because “if approved, the legislation would have a serious negative impact on the already shrinking space for civil society and independent media in the country” and “would also undermine future progress against corruption in Georgia.”

The organization noted that the proposal to label civil society and media organizations receiving foreign funding as “foreign agents” is also at odds with the Georgian government’s stated EU aspirations. In mirrors the “oppressive” legislation adopted in Russia in 2012, which “continues to be strongly condemned by the international community.”

“Decisive action against high-level corruption, strengthening protections for journalists and enabling civil society’s meaningful participation in decision-making are among the conditions Georgia needs to meet to achieve EU candidacy,” Transparency International said.

It also noted that despite wide protest, leaders from the ruling party have now voiced their support for the bill, “continuing to retaliate against independent actors.”

Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International, said that “a vibrant civil society is one of Georgia’s greatest assets” and “the proposed legislation is not about transparency but about labelling and demonizing independent civil society.” She also noted that “if passed, it will also derail future progress in a wide range of areas, including anti-corruption.”

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