IFJ and EFJ Condemn Ukraine Bill to Criminalise Slander

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional body, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today condemned the draft media legislation currently before the Ukraine parliament that introduces criminal liability for defamation as another assault on freedom of speech.

The bill, which passed its first reading on 18 September, would reintroduce criminal defamation eleven years after it was removed from the statute books in 2001

"This law would represent one more nail in the coffin for Ukraine free speech," said Elisabeth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "We urge Ukraine parliamentarians to think again and reject the regressive step into the past."

The IFJ's affiliate, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) warns that the law will lead to further self-censorship, obstruct the free flow of information and reduce the country's levels of democracy.

The IMTUU further warned that without independent courts, the ruling elites will use the law to intimidate and jail genuine investigative journalists exposing corruption.

"This law would enable the powerful to silence critics and end the exposure of corruption," said Arne König, EFJ President. "We fully support our members campaigning heavily against this threat to their profession and their democracy.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries