Ukrainian journalists protested against the Law About Slander
On October, 1, in Ukraine, near Verhovna Rada, there was the protest against adoption of the Law About Slander. Tomorrow Verhovna Rada will make a decision about the future of this Law.
On September, 18, 2012, Ukrainian Parliament approved in the first reading the Bill № 11013, which provides criminal penalties for attacks on the honor, dignity and business reputation of the man and even imprisonment. This decision of the deputies can considerably limit the rights and freedom of every Ukrainian because it provides criminal penalties for words and critics.
244 pro-governmental deputies propose to imprison in case of slander, i.e. deliberate spreading of false information, defaming the honor and dignity of another person, or undermining its reputation if such action resulted in grave consequences.
In fact, everybody, who spreads critical information, can risk to be prosecuted. It is a threat to not only journalists, bloggers and activists, but also to common users of social networks and forums, who only comment the news.
In the situation of distrust to functioning of the Court in Ukraine and the features of its dependence, the seregulations in the Criminal Code can become a basis for prosecution of everybody, who criticizes the government, and open a way to political repressions of independent politicians, journalists and activists. If this Bill appears during the election campaign, it means the desire to limit critical statements and hence political pluralisms and it doesn’t meet international standards of organizing election campaign.
In this situation we call all colleagues-journalists to cover this issue in all possible ways to explain the consequences of the adoption of the Law. In case of absence of any reaction from the side of the Bill initiators, we call to ignore in future covering information about activities of those people who seeks to destroy freedom of speech in the country and intimidate everybody, who spreads the information.
We also call the leaders of fractions to support the decision to abolish approved in the first reading the Bill № 11013, as the document is irrelevant to recommendations of international organizations, where Ukraine is represented, namely, European Council and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which call for maximum decriminalization of defamation legislation.
We also call internalional community to support our actions in trying to stop censorship of the press, to safeguard press freedom, which is a basic human right and all togather persuade Ukrainian Governement to behave in a democratic way. Adoption of this Bill will be a serious regress in the development of Ukraine and will convincingly testify irrelevance to international and democratic standards.
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