The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is deeply concerned about the proposed law in Georgia that would require media outlets and NGOs receiving more than 20 percent of their funding from foreign sources to register as “agents of foreign influence”. This law has the potential to stifle freedom of the press and undermine democratic development in the country.
The use of tear gas and water cannon by authorities against peaceful protesters is unacceptable and only serves to further escalate tensions. The NYCFPA urges the Georgian government to respect the right to peaceful assembly and refrain from using excessive force against protesters.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Georgia in their fight for a free and open society. The proposed law is a clear violation of the principles of freedom of expression and the press, which are essential to any functioning democracy. It threatens to silence critical voices and limit access to information.
Furthermore, the NYCFPA expresses concern that the law could have similar effects as the “foreign agents” law in Russia, which has been used to suppress civil society and independent media. We urge the Georgian government to learn from the experience of other countries and avoid measures that could lead to further restrictions on freedom of expression and the press.
We call on the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations to closely monitor the situation in Georgia and take action to ensure that the country upholds its commitment to democratic principles and human rights. The international community must stand together to support the people of Georgia in their struggle for a free and open society.
Based on the situation in Georgia, the New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs recommends the following actions:
– Call for an immediate halt to the adoption of the proposed law: The Georgian government should immediately stop the adoption of the proposed law and take into account the concerns of the protesters and the international community. The law, if passed, would have a chilling effect on media freedom and civil society.
– Conduct a comprehensive review of the proposed law: The Georgian government should conduct a thorough review of the proposed law to ensure that it does not impede media freedom and civil society. The review should be conducted in a transparent manner and involve all stakeholders, including the media, civil society, and international organizations.
– Ensure media freedom and civil society: The Georgian government should ensure that media freedom and civil society are protected and strengthened. This can be achieved through the promotion of an enabling environment for the media and civil society, and the repeal of laws that impede their work.
– Respect democratic values and principles: The Georgian government should respect democratic values and principles, including the rule of law, human rights, and freedom of expression. These values are essential for the development of a democratic society and the protection of the rights and freedoms of its citizens.
– Seek the assistance of the international community: The Georgian government should seek the assistance of the international community, including the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union, in addressing the concerns of the protesters and ensuring that media freedom and civil society are protected. The international community can provide technical assistance and support in the areas of media freedom, civil society, and democratic governance.
The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs strongly condemns any actions that impede media freedom and civil society in Georgia. We stand in solidarity with the protesters in Tbilisi and call on the Georgian government to ensure that media freedom and civil society are protected and strengthened. We also call on the international community to support the efforts of the Georgian people in defending their democratic rights and freedoms.
Finally, we call on the Georgian government to engage in a meaningful dialogue with civil society and media organizations to address concerns about foreign influence and ensure that any measures taken are in line with international human rights standards. The NYCFPA is committed to supporting democracy and human rights around the world, and we stand ready to assist the people of Georgia in their efforts to safeguard these fundamental values.