European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today has backed calls by Ukrainian
journalists for the withdrawal of proposed legislation that would introduce
criminal responsibility for libel.
on the fringes of an EFJ conference in Moscow that is focussing on the ways in
which the EFJ can support journalists' unions in Eastern Europe, EFJ President
Arne König called for the legislation to be withdrawn: "Right across
Europe the EFJ campaigns for an end to criminal procedures for defamation. Laws
such as these have a chilling effect on the willingness and ability of
journalists to do their jobs effectively."
proposed new law had been voted in first hearing on 18 September by the
Ukrainian Parliament and is seen by many as another tool for government
reprisals against critical journalists.
adoption of similar laws in authoritarian countries led to further curtailing
of civic freedoms and there are serious concerns that Ukraine is at risk as
König added: "Our support is with our Ukrainian colleagues as they fight
to protect democracy and for the right to do their jobs free from fear.”
also EFJ/IFJ statement from 20 September: http://europe.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-and-efj-condemn-ukraine-bill-to-criminalise-slander
The EFJ, which is a
regional organisation of the International Federation of journalists,
represents over 310,000 journalists in over 30 countries.
For more information,
contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200.