The International Federation of Journalists today gave its full support to Ukrainian journalists demonstrating against the refusal of the state authorities to properly register the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, IMTUU.
The Tax authorities have refused to register IMTUU as a trade union organization. It has instead been given the same status as a commercial enterprise making it liable to the same tax system. This imposes punitive taxes on IMTUU which would render it financially unviable.
“This extraordinary decision penalizes an organization that only six months ago led journalists protesting against censorship at the height of last years Presidential election,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “IMTUU is now campaigning for better working conditions and guaranteed rights that will ensure Ukrainian journalists can work in decent conditions free of interference and intimidation.”
Over the past two years IMTUU has worked closely with the IFJ and the national journalists’ unions of Great Britain and Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Croatia, among others. They have watched IMTUU grow into a genuine national trade union fighting for the social and professional rights of journalists. They signed a joint protest letter to the tax authorities in June to accompany the IMTUU appeal. This appeal has been ignored.
“The refusal to register IMTUU as a trade union is a huge blow to Ukraine’s journalists and undermines the struggle for decent working conditions and independent journalism,” said Arne Konig, Chair of the European Federation of Journalists the regional body of the IFJ.
The IFJ and EFJ called on President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko to ensure that the tax authorities undertake immediate action to grant IMTUU its rightful legal status as a trade union organization.
To read the IFJ letter to President Yushchenko click HERE
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries