The draft law entitled “Agents of Foreign Influences” envisages considering media and non-governmental organizations as “agents of foreign influences”, which was developed by the “People’s Power”, known for its anti-Western rhetoric.
We asked the majority deputies of Kvemo Kartli to express their position on the issue.
Irakli Shatakishvili – Majority Deputy of Rustavi and Gardabani: “I share the position of our team “Georgian Dream” in general terms. As our leaders said, we agree and support them at the level of the party i.e. principles. The main principle, as you know, is transparency. After the first reading, the bill will be sent to our partners in the Venice Commission.
In accordance with the conclusion received from the Venice Commission, additional discussions will be held regarding the continuation of the review.”
Gogi Meshveliani – Majority MP of Bolnisi, Dmanisi, Tetritskaro and Tsalka: “First of all, I want to tell you that this law has already been initiated. As what regarding the financial transparency part, I believe that there is a need and it would be great if our society had detailed information about the institution that spent the grant, about the funder and etc. In my opinion, all other details and nuances deserve a detailed discussion. We will discuss article-by-article all the issues that concern our society. We will have an in-depth review before taking a decision. I do support this initiative on the level of principles regarding the issue of transparency, although I would like to emphasize that we will observe precisely all the nuances that this law enacts.
I would like to mention that I have quite fruitful cooperation with non-governmental organizations at the local level. These people implement many interesting projects for our citizens. I personally believe that the law should be configured in such a way to avoid any embarrassing moments for their work. That is why I say that there will be a very detailed discussion. In order to go through all the nuances, so that neither the civil sector nor our society have any questions.
I believe that the initiated law is not an analogue or copy pastes of the Russian law. Therefore, this law should not affect the activities of the civil sector. Relevantly, there will be quite interactive discussions of this law. Among others, the representatives of the non-governmental sector will also participate and the discussion will be of the open nature.”
Our country’s strategic partners and international organizations also evaluated the mentioned draft law. “We are aware of this bill and are deeply concerned about its impact on freedom of speech and democracy in Georgia. We have expressed this concern to the Government of Georgia directly and repeatedly. The proposed draft law stigmatizes and silences the independent voices of Georgian citizens who are striving to build a better future for their society. Such a law can potentially undermine Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, which the population of Georgia has so clearly stated many times in recent years”, – Ned Price, US State Department Spokesman
“Georgia worked hard to build democracy. This bill challenges the progress that Georgia has been building for years. Therefore, listen to the concerns of the United Nations, the European Union and the USA, friends of Georgia. In my opinion, Georgia does not need this law. The question of why we are introducing the law should be answered,” Kelly Degnan,US Ambassador to Georgia
“The bill threatens the respect and protection of such rights as freedom of association and expression, the right to participate in public activities, the right to privacy and protection of personal data, and the prohibition of discrimination,” United Nations.
Author: Manon Bokuchava
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