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ICNL’s resources and information on Georgia.

Flag of Georgia (Graphic Credit: Wikimedia)

Overview of Georgia’s Foreign Influence Law

On May 14, 2024, the Georgian parliament adopted the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence (hereinafter “the Law”). The Law requires non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entities (NNLEs) and media organizations to register and submit information to be included in a special registry of “implementing organizations of foreign power interests” (IOFPs) to be maintained by the Ministry of Justice (the MoJ). The MoJ obtains a broad power to inspect the activities of all NNLEs, media organizations and, possibly, other entities, to ensure compliance with the Law. Although the President of Georgia vetoed the Law on May 18, 2024, the Georgian parliament has the power to overturn the veto. If the parliament overturns the veto, the Law’s provisions will apply to NNLEs and media organizations after 60 days of its official publication.

2024 Georgia Draft Law on Foreign Influence Transparency

On April 3, 2024, the Georgian Dream party registered in the parliament the draft Law of Georgia on Foreign Influence Transparency (“the Georgian draft law”). The Georgian draft law is identical to the draft Law of Georgia on Transparency of Foreign Influence #07–3/293; 14.02.2023 that was withdrawn from parliament following mass protests against it by a broad cross-section of Georgians in March 2023. The only notable difference is the replacement of the term ““agents of foreign influence” with the term “implementer organization of foreign power’s interest.” Read a briefer of the new draft law here, and find a full analysis of a similar 2023 draft law here.

draft law of Georgia on transparency of foreign influence photo credit Amanda Anderson - Concert Hall & Presidential Palace Tbilisi Georgia

2023 Draft Law of Georgia on Transparency of Foreign Influence

The February 2023 Draft Law of Georgia on Transparency of Foreign Influence, which is nearly identical to the draft law introduced in April, drew profound concern from international and Georgian organizations, as well as sparked mass protests against the bill. If it had passed, it would have substantially weaken civil society and independent media, which are crucial to preserving democracy in Georgia. At the request of local partners, ICNL and ECNL prepared an analysis of the draft law’s compliance with international law and European standards. Our analysis shows that many of the draft law provisions did not comply with Georgia’s obligations under international law or EU standards. Find the full analysis here or a summary of our findings here.

Upholding Civic Freedom in Georgia

In early 2023, Georgians took to the streets to protest a highly restrictive draft foreign agent law. If adopted, the law would have required civil society organizations (CSOs) that receive more than 20 percent of their income from abroad to register as foreign agents. Branding these organizations as such would have implied that they were spies, discrediting their work and undermining civil society more broadly. The draft also granted enforcement at the government’s discretion, thereby allowing the prosecution of opponents.

Find the full analysis here.

TV Broadcasting Tower - image credit Andrzej Wojtowicz via Flickr, Georgia's broadcasting law amendments.

Georgia’s Broadcasting Law Amendments

The Georgian Parliament adopted the Law of Georgia “On Introducing Amendments to the Law ‘On Broadcasting’” (the Law) on October 19, 2023. The Law does not comply with multiple Georgian international law commitments. The Georgian civil society expressed concern that the Law grants increased discretionary powers to the Georgian state authorities to control and censor Georgian media organizations and can be used to punish critical media. Read the full analysis here.

Peaceful assembly in Georgia

Review of Georgia’s Law on Assemblies and Manifestations

The Law of Georgia “On Introducing Amendments to the Law ‘On Assemblies and Manifestations’” was adopted on October 5, 2023, and is awaiting the approval of the President. The law’s stated purpose is to facilitate authorities safe management of public gatherings and exercise of freedom of expression. It was put forward in reaction to a State Security Service of Georgia advisory regarding a potential attack on protests in late 2023. Find the full analysis here.

Tbilisi cityscapes with a cable car. (Photo: Katarzyna Javaheri-Szpak/WikiMedia)

Guidelines for Activists Relocating to Georgia

These guidelines, put together by the Civil Society Institute (CSI) with the support of ICNL, are designed to help activists from Belarus and other Eurasian countries who relocate to Georgia ensure compliance with Georgian law. They cover a broad range of legal issues, from obtaining legalization in Georgia to work permits, rules for working as an individual or as a nonprofit, taxation, rules for receiving foreign grants, procedures for opening bank accounts, required reports to the government, and licensing for specific activities, and more. Download the report here (Russian and English available).

Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index

The index, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development for twenty years, documents the development of civil society in seventy-one countries around the world, including Georgia. ICNL and FHI 360 work with local partners to produce the index annually.