Georgians protest ‘foreign agents’ draft law

Authorities have used tear gas and water cannon outside the Georgian parliament building against protesters who oppose a proposed law some see as stifling freedom of the press.

The law, which has received initial approval, would require media outlets and NGOs that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from foreign sources to register as “agents of foreign influence”.

Thousands of people have been massing for days in the capital, Tbilisi, to protest against the proposed law, and a fight broke out at one point among politicians on Monday.

A majority of lawmakers in the parliament approved the draft law dubbed “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” in a first reading on Tuesday.

While Georgia’s president, Salome Zourabichvili, has said she would veto the bill, its authors say it is needed for the transparency of the work of entities financed by representatives of foreign states.

Parliament can override presidential vetoes. The European Union has warned Georgia that by adopting this law it would harm its prospects of ever joining the bloc. International organisations have voiced concern over the draft law, saying it runs against Georgia’s democratic development.



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