Thousands protest at Georgian ‘foreign agent’ bill

Thousands protest in Tbilisi against a Georgian bill forcing NGOs and media to declare as foreign agents, potentially leading to imprisonment and fines. Opponents fear the law threatens press freedom and civil society, warning of a shift towards authoritarianism and jeopardizing the country’s EU aspirations.

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Protesters have clashed with police in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, after parliament backed a controversial draft law which critics say limits press freedom and suppresses civil society. The proposed law would require non-governmental organisations and media groups to declare themselves as ‘foreign agents’ or face possible imprisonment and hefty fines. The law would apply to organisations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad.

Opposition figures in Georgia have said the law would mark a move towards authoritarianism and would harm the country’s chances of joining the European Union.