Opinion
Posted: 11 months ago

Kelly Degnan, the US Ambassador to Georgia, has called on the Parliament to Withdraw the bill on Foreign "Agents of Influence

Kelly Degnan, the US ambassador to Georgia, has called on the parliament to withdraw the bill on foreign "agents of influence," stating that Georgia does not need any version of it. She expressed concerns that the bill could stigmatize civil society and silence independent media, citing similar laws in Russia. The US, the United Nations, the European Union, and many other friends of Georgia share these concerns and urge the parliament to reconsider the bill's necessity.

Degnan emphasized that the bill would have a devastating effect on organizations that provide assistance to citizens in need, and is not in the best interest of Georgia. She called on the parliament to review and withdraw the bill.

To recall, "People's Power" registered two draft laws on the transparency of agents of foreign influence within two weeks. If passed, media outlets and organizations that receive more than 20% of their funding from foreign organizations, including international donors, will have to register as agents of foreign influence.

The bill has received criticism from the US, the EU, and the UN. "People's Power" responded by submitting an alternative bill, the "Foreign Agent Registration Act," which they claim is an exact analogue and translation of the American version.

The initiator of the draft law, Eka Sefashvili, stated that the ruling team would support both the Georgian and American versions in the first reading. After that, the document will be sent to the Venice Commission, and the parliament will take into account the commission's comments.