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The Georgian group says it will take the controversial media law to the constitutional court

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — A nongovernmental organization in Georgia said Thursday it is preparing a lawsuit in the country’s constitutional court to challenge a law that critics say will suppress the news media and independent organizations.

The law requires media and non-governmental organizations that receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as representatives of the interests of foreign powers. Opponents argue that the law would discredit such organizations and hinder Georgia’s bid to join the European Union.

Massive demonstrations have filled the streets of the Georgian capital Tbilisi for weeks to protest the measure, whose enemies call it “the Russian law” because of similar laws in Russia pushed by the Kremlin.

President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the bill after it was passed by parliament this month, but parliament overrode the veto on Tuesday. The law must now be accepted by Zourabichvili on Sunday, otherwise the speaker of parliament can accept the law if she does not.

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Georgia’s Civil Society Foundation said in a statement: “We declare that we will not comply with Russian law and will use all domestic and international mechanisms to prevent its action until the law is unconditionally repealed. To this end, we are preparing a lawsuit to be filed with the Constitutional Court of Georgia and will consider it in the near future.”

Anri Okhanashvili, chairman of parliament’s judiciary committee, rejected the initiative.

“We are ready anywhere, be it the Constitutional Court or other institutions, to defend this legislative decision adopted in favor of the interests of our country,” he said.

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