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The Man behind the “Agent Law” in Georgia

17 May 2024. For weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have been taking to the streets in Georgia to demonstrate against the so-called “Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence” of the ruling party “Georgian Dream“. The law is closely modelled on Russia’s “agent law” which the Kremlin has used for years to stifle opposition activists, the media, journalists and NGOs. It requires organisations that receive more than 20 per cent of their funding from abroad to register as ‘agents of foreign influence’. This law has enabled Russia to eliminate all forms of opposition and close down NGOs and all independent media. The same scenario is now threatening Georgia. But despite massive protests, the Georgian parliament waved the law through on 14 May. The result: The country in the Caucasus, an official candidate for EU membership since December 2023, is in danger of being re-capitulated into the Russian orbit as a kind of satellite state. This makes EU membership an extremely distant prospect.
What is behind it?
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Democratic Crossroads: The Future of Liberal Democracy

Online Talk with Francis Fukuyama and Dr. Tobias Endler, 16 May, 7:15 p.m. (CET)

12 May 2024. U.S. democracy is exposed to unprecedented tensions: social polarization, disenchantment with politics, growing economic inequality, dealing with climate change, migration, and a general mistrust in institutions are affecting public opinion and are strengthening anti-democratic forces and voices in the country. As a response to these problems, the big question and fear is whether the USA, like so many political systems around the world, is moving into a so-called “democratic backsliding“. So what is the state of democracy in the country that has been regarded as a political role model in the world for over a century? Are we witnessing a “US-only phenomenon” here? And what impact will the result of the presidential election have on this long-standing trend?

Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama is an American political scientist and Director of the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, where he also directs the Master’s program in International Politics. His research interests include developing countries, nation building, democratization, governance, international political economy and security issues. Fukuyama has commented on the most important issues in recent world politics and has established himself as a liberal thinker.

Moderation: Dr. Tobias Endler

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Europe, Elections, Disinformation and the State of Democracy

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9 May 2024. Never before have so many people around the world been able to vote in one year as in 2024. Around half of the world’s population will be able to cast their vote this year and have a decisive influence on the way the world will be governed for years to come.
Experts fear that this super election year will be accompanied by an increase in fake news and disinformation to influence voters’ opinions and voting behaviour. Increasingly rapid advances in artificial intelligence, growing threats from wars and crises, and decreasing protection against hate and hate speech on social media are all contributing to this trend.
France, Poland and Germany have agreed to take joint action against troll campaigns in the wake of massive disinformation and cyber-attacks, largely orchestrated by Russia. A massive increase in Russian disinformation activities aimed at influencing the population is expected in many European countries, especially in the run-up to the European elections and the Paris Olympics.
In the super election year of 2024, the 20th M100 Sanssouci Colloquium will focus on the impact of disinformation, Europe’s ability to defend itself, the transatlantic partnership, the state of democracy, the opportunities and dangers of artificial intelligence, and the role and responsibilities of journalists in an increasingly complex and complicated world.