Independent Media Denounces Reintroduced Foreign Agents Bill

On April 8, Georgian independent media issued a statement “condemning and opposing” the ruling party’s decision to reintroduce the “Russian law” on foreign agents. The media pledges to increase resistance to the adoption of the law in order to make Georgia a true European democracy, together with international partners.

The media outlets note that the draft law is the Georgian Dream’s attempt to “deprive citizens of their voice, destroy independent media, civil society, silence and exclude the most active part of society from public processes”. The statement emphasizes that the return of the law to the political discussion shows the “violent nature” of the authorities, who are learning from the Russian government “how to rule the country through subjugation and control, repression and expulsion, lies and demagoguery.”

The media representatives stress that this law will quickly transform Georgia from a state with a hybrid system of governance into an authoritarian, Russian-style country where “people do not have the opportunity to develop and the most valued quality is obedience.” They emphasize that they do not want to live in such a country and will not give the authorities a chance to make Georgia lose its place in the European family.

“For years “Georgian Dream” has not stopped fighting against different and critical opinions, which are often heard from our web pages and broadcasts. For this reason, independent media, along with civil society organizations, became the main target of the government,” – notes the statement, adding that journalists have been targeted with hatred from the highest officials: “The Georgian authorities systematically harass and persecute journalists, do not allow them to work, and verbally and physically abuse them”.

The media say that although they feel under attack, they never stop doing their work on behalf of Georgia and its international partners. “Georgian independent media have always felt the support of international partners, whose contribution to all the important reforms implemented in Georgia is invaluable. Since Georgia’s declaration of independence, our international partners have been the only guarantors of our security and independence,” – reads the statement.

The statement emphasizes that Georgia’s international partners have once again expressed their negative assessment of the draft law and called on the government to drop it. The media notes that they won’t allow GD to build a “impenetrable wall” between Georgia and its partners. “We will strengthen the resistance, defend our rights, the rights of our citizens and the right of our country to act according to its civilizational choice. Together with international partners we will make Georgia a true European democracy”.

Signatories: The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics; Studio Monitor; Radio Marneuli; Sakartvelos Ambebi/Mtis Ambebi; Kutaisipost;; Publika; IFact – Investigative Journalists’ Team; Aliq Media Georgia; Guria News; Netgazeti; Batumelebi; Studio REC;;;; Media Aprili;;; Chemi Kharagauli;; Radio Atinati; Indigo; Jam-news; Tok TV; Agrogaremo TV;; Media Checker; OC Media; TV Borjomi; Project 64.

On April 3, the parliamentary majority leader of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Mamuka Mdinaradze, announced the reintroduction of the draft law on foreign agents, which was dropped last year after the massive rallies on March 7-9. According to Mdinaradze, the content of the bill remains the same, the only change is in the title: the word “agent” in it has been removed and the title has been replaced with “Organization Pursuing the Interests of a Foreign Power”. The decision has drawn sharp criticism from the civil society and opposition within the country and from Georgia’s international partners.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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