US pressures Georgia government to ditch ‘foreign agent’ law

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Lawmakers in Washington are introducing two similar bills that seek to persuade the Georgian government to ditch a controversial “Russian law”.

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US lawmakers are moving to persuade the Georgian government not to adopt the controversial “Russian law.”

The law compels media and NGOs to register as “foreign agents” if they receive more than 20% of their funding abroad. 

It was recently passed in Georgia, despite mass protests. 

The proposed US initiatives are called the “Mobilizing and Enhancing George’s Options for Building Accountability, Resilience and Independence” (MEGOBARI) and the Georgian People’s Act. 

The acts offer visa liberalisation and opportunities to deepen US-Georgia relations in various sectors, but sanction those responsible for Georgia’s possible democratic backslide. 

Critics claim the law – put forward by the ruling Georgian Dream party – could be used to stifle media freedom and critical voices. 

Similar legislation adopted in Russia was used to suppress opposition to the Kremlin. 

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a visa restriction against Georgian officials linked to the controversial bill.

In response, the Georgian Dream party accused the US of emotional blackmail. 

In a statement published by the party, they said blackmail goes against the spirit of partnership that should be established between two sovereign states.

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