"Georgia must fight the law on foreign agents" - Russian journalist Roman Perl
Roman Perl on Georgian law
Russian journalist Roman Perl, forced to leave his country after adoption of the law on agents in Russia, has called on the Georgian people to oppose the adoption of a similar law in their country “unto the last” on the air of Georgian oppositionTV channel Formula.
Roman Perl was a journalist for the Radio Liberty project – Present Time. After the adoption of the law he was declared a foreign agent. According to the journalist, in Russia this battle has already been lost, but in Georgia, as long as there is even the slightest chance, people must fight.
“We must fight unto the last, because this is the limit beyond which resistance is no longer possible. This is what happened in Russia; 2011-2012 was the end. After that protests no longer meant anything. So while Georgia still has the chance to resist growing autocracy, it must be resisted,” Perl said.
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The Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament of Georgia has confirmed a draft law according to which non-governmental and media organizations that receive foreign funding must be registered as “agents of foreign influence”.
As of 27 February, two bills have been registered in Parliament. Both were initiated by the People’s Power movement, which has become famous for its harsh anti-Western statements. The movement includes deputies who were previously members of the ruling party. Experts and many in the public view the movement as fully affiliated with the authorities.
Members of the movement openly declare that it was created in order to “tell people the truth about the West, which is trying to go to war and open a second front.”
The draft law is being criticized by everyone except the ruling party — the local NGO and media sector, the opposition, experts and politicians who were once on the side of Georgian Dream and even the President of Georgia.
The bill is heavily criticized by Georgia’s Western partners — various international organizations, US senators and European lawmakers. The US Ambassador bluntly called it “Russian law.”
US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, says that the proponents of the law will be held responsible for risking the future of the country.
On February 20, Georgian senators Jeanne Shaheen and Dick Durbin visited Georgia. Shaheen stated at a press conference on the “foreign agents” law that it was similar Russian legislation of the same type.