The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) are alarmed by the creation of a government body to control information and the media in Ukraine.
According to media reports, the Ukrainian Parliament on Tuesday 2 December has passed a proposal to create a new body called the Ministry of Information Policy with the aim of “confronting Russia’s formidable propaganda machine”.
The government has appointed Mr. Yuriy Stets, a close ally to President Petro Poroshenko and the head of the Information Security Department of the National Guard of Ukraine, to lead the ministry.
The EFJ and IFJ have criticised the decision to create the new body, warning that it will further stifle media freedom in the country.
The federations have called on the Ukrainian government to respect media freedom and the rights of journalists by revoking its decision to create the new ministry. “No further action should be taken without full consultation of the Ukraine media community and journalists unions,” said IFJ/EFJ.
Following the announcement, some journalists and activists from Ukrainian have staged protests outside the parliament criticising the parliament for rushing through the proposal without any public debate and consultation with journalists and civil society organisations.
“Do not fight propaganda with propaganda,” the IFJ/EFJ warned.