Joint statement on threats to media freedom in Ukraine


Prominent international advocates of media freedom took part in a PACE committee hearing on the state of media freedom in Europe at the Swedish Parliament.

The speakers outlined key challenges to media freedom in Europe: violence against journalists, often with impunity; restrictive anti-terrorism laws; criminal sanctions for defamation and restriction of internet freedom. The murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Georgiy Gongadze and other prominent journalists have not been fully investigated, the international experts also noted.

Participants included Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Agnиs Callamard, Executive Director of Article 19, Mats Johansson, Standing Rapporteur on Media Freedom of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Arne Kцnig, President of the European Federation of Journalists, Pauls Raudseps, Publisher of the Latvian magazine Ir, and William Horsley, Media Freedom Representative of the Association of European Journalists.

Mats Johansson, the Standing Rapporteur for Media Freedom of PACE's Committee on Culture, Science and Education, and Arne König, President of the European Federation of Journalists, who are both attending a PACE hearing in Stockholm on the state of media freedom in Europe, have released the following joint statement:

"We are very concerned by threats to media freedom in Ukraine, which chairs the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers at a time of severe national political challenges. It is important for democracy that independent media can freely report on a political crisis. Impunity for attacks on journalists and the media undermines democracy and the rule of law. National security must not be taken as a pretext to silence politically critical media.

It is unacceptable that law enforcement authorities have not yet been able to shed light on the disappearance of Vasyl Klymentyev one year ago. The fact that the court trial concerning the Georgiy Gongadze murder is being conducted in camera challenges the right of the public to be informed on this matter of public concern.

Therefore, we call on the competent authorities in Ukraine to ensure that independent and truthful information can be disseminated freely by the media in Ukraine."



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