Ukraine: IFJ calls on government not to implement measures to restrict media freedom

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) in calling on authorities not to implement measures which may threaten media freedom in the country after the President , Volodymyr Zelensky, passed a decree to implement changes in the regulation of media activity in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Credit: Genya SAVILOV / AFP

The proposed measures are contained in a Presidential Decree “on urgent measures to reform and strengthen the state” passed earlier this month which asks Ministers to develop proposals for changes in legislation regarding the regulation of media activity in Ukraine, including, in particular, regulation on the requirements and standards of news, mechanisms to prevent the dissemination of false news or the prohibition of natural or legal persons of the "aggressor state" from owning or financing the media in Ukraine, among others.

IMTUU warned that, as happened in the past, that the government may hide its intention  to impose restrictions on press freedom under apparent good intentions of combating fake news and the influence of aggressive external information. The IFJ has pledged to work with Ukrainian journalists to closely scrutinise all the new regulations on media activity.

IMTUU said in a statement that it strongly rejects any attempt to prosecute journalists for "defamation" or spread "false information", arguing that it may become an arbitrary repressive mean of suppressing freedom of expression and opinion given the lack of independence of the Ukrainian judicial system. 

The IFJ supports its affiliate’s call on journalists working in Ukraine to unite and openly condemn any government initiative to restrict media freedom.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "In considering measures to strengthen the state apparatus the government must fully respect international standards of media freedom and not take any steps which undermine the professional rights of journalists".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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