Tag: <span>foreign influence</span>

foreign influence Appeals

Start to Dangerous Regression of Liberty in Georgia: A…

Despite strong protests from Georgian Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and street protests for three weeks in the capital Tbilisi, the Georgian Parliament adopted on May 14, 2024 the controversial law on “foreign influence”. The vote was 84 in favor and 30 opposed.

The law is likely to be vetoed by the Georgian President, Salomé Zourabichvili, a former French diplomat, but there are probably enough favorable votes in the Parliament to override the veto.

The law is very close to a similar law of 2012 in the Russian Federation used to hinder NGOs often considered to be “enemy agents” voicing opposition to the government. The law obliges NGOs and media to publish all financing from foreign governments, foundations, and individuals if it amounts to 20 or more percent of the funds of the organization. The law has been strongly opposed by officials of the European Union and the United States. Georgia has a candidate status for joining the European Union.

President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili in Brussels, 2019. By President.ge, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

People without a Country.

The former Prime Minister and leader of the Georgian Dream Party in power for the last 12 years, Bidzina Ivanichvili, has attacked those opposed to the law as “people without a country” – a term used in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. He has been playing with a fear among some in power in Georgia that NGOs with foreign funding could create a “color revolution” to overthrow the government as was done elsewhere.

In the days prior to the vote, there was strong government pressure against journalists and NGO representatives, some being beaten and many threatened by telephone calls. As Citizens of the World concerned with the role of NGOs and freedom of the press, we need to watch developments in Georgia closely.

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili in the Polish Senate.
Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili in the Polish Senate. By The Chancellery of the Senate of the Republic of Poland , CC BY-SA 3.0 PL https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/pl/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons.

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

Credits:

Featured Image: Image by Adam Lapuník on Pixabay.