Ukraine : IFJ, EFJ warn about new attempts to criminalise defamation

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) and its European group, the European Federation of

Journalists (EFJ) today warned against new attempts to reintroduce

criminalization of defamation in

Ukraine, following a first try last year.

"Journalists organisations like the

EFJ, but also international organisations like the Council of Europe and the

OSCE are trying to put an end to criminal procedures for defamation across

Europe," said EFJ President Arne König. "Our message is

clear: criminal libel laws are not only disproportionate, but they also have a

chilling effect on the willingness and ability of journalists to do their job


On Monday 18 March, the First Deputy

Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin proposed again the introduction of criminal

liability for defamation in Ukraine. Reports indicate that he intends to make

changes to a relevant article in the Criminal Code during the current

parliamentary legislation.

The EFJ and IFJ

affiliate Independent Media Trade Union (IMTU) and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) point out that a similar

proposal was received very negatively last autumn and led to mass protests by

the journalistic community. They warn that the new attempt will lead to even

greater negative reactions from journalists.

"We support the protests of Ukrainian

journalists in this fight," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Every

attempt to impose criminal liability for defamation is a direct threat for

professional journalists who try to expose bribery, corruption, and nepotism in


IMTU believes that the issue of defamation can be solved under the current

legislation and that there is no need for changes to existing laws.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 00
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries