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Ukrainian journalists prepared agenda of media-reform for President Poroshenko and invited him to a meeting

06.06.2014, 17:36

On June 6, the Day of Journalist in Ukraine, Stop Censorship! movement of Ukrainian journalists addressed President-elect Petro Poroshenko with an open letter. IMI gives the full text of the letter:

Dear Mr.President,

We address you on the occasion of our professional holiday, and on the eve of your official inauguration, to suggest you the agenda of media reforms, and to provide you information about the priority tasks and challenges in the freedom of press sphere.

During the last six months, journalists paid a very high price for the citizens’ rights to receive information. Two our colleagues were killed, almost 300 were injured, approximately 40 journalists were taken hostages, dozens became displaced due to pressure, attacks, and threats. We encourage you to take under your personal control investigation of all these cases, and to have the attackers punished. Almost 200 attacks were committed by former, and perhaps current, officers of the governmental defense and law enforcement agencies. Ukraine will not be able to develop as a democratic state if journalists here have no guarantees of safety and adequate protection of their professional activities.

The journalists also expect the President and the Parliament to take consistent measures to guarantee freedom of press and to develop the mass media sector.

1. Accountability

We encourage you to show your good will and to become open to the society. In particular, this means regular meetings with mass media representatives, press conferences held at least every quarter, and reporting to the society about your actions on regular basis. We hope that the principles of transparency and accountability will become one of the priorities for the new government.

2. Public broadcasting

One more important issue is launching public broadcasting in Ukraine. We welcome adoption of the corresponding law, yet the decisive factor for implementing this reform is the political will. What the society needs is not a mere change of a sign on the National TV Company of Ukraine, but a powerful broadcaster who is free of political pressure.

3. No state ownership of mass media

The movement «Stop Censorshipencourages you to support the mass media reform, which is very important for becoming of Ukraine as a democratic state. In particular, it is necessary to finally reform the state-owned and communal press, which is funded from the state and local budgets and is nothing but a rudiment of the Soviet past.

4. Transparency of media ownership

Ukraine urgently requires adoption of the legislation to secure an effective transparency mechanism for media ownership. This will end manipulations and corruption, and will enable the media sector to develop along the European standards.

5. Liquidation of the National Commission for Protection of Public Morals

This institution is nothing but an obsolete censorship body, and no developed country has anything like it. Further existence of the Commission casts suspicion on the government’s claims of rapproachment with the European countries.

6. Independent and competent National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting

One more important issue on the agenda as seen by the media community is bringing new people to the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting, which lately has discredited itself as an independent regulator, and also compromised Ukraine’s observance of international commitments, in particular in regard of introducing digital broadcasting. The media community has introduced its representatives to the National Council, who were chosen after serious consultations, and who have proven themselves to be trusted and reliable professionals supported by the community. We encourage the new government to support the candidates from the journalist organizations, supported by the movement «Stop Censorship!», — professional lawyers Taras Shevchenko and Tetiana Kotiuzhynska, and thus to secure independence and professionalism of the National Council, which needs to be formed in a transparent and democratic way, in compliance with the Ukrainian legislation and recommendations of international organizations.

We want to believe that your election as President would mean a new perspective for Ukraine. If you really intend to build a "new country", as your pre-election slogan put it, your responsibility is to implement the media-reform, to become open and accountable, to ensure the public's right to information and the right of journalists to report freely. 

"Stop Censorship" encourages you to meet with journalists of the movement to discuss the issues raised in the letter.  

Journalists movement "Stop Censorship!"


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