UNIAN, 2 May
“Freedom House”: the freedom of speech is absent in Ukraine
The organization “Freedom House” published its report on the freedom of speech in Ukraine. The Ukrainian service of BBC informs that the ratings of Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela has essentially decreased in comparison with the previous report. Among 27 countries of the former USSR, Central and Eastern Europe 9 countries were related to the category of “free” countries, 8 – to “partly free” and 10 – to “not free”. Ukraine got to the category of “not free” countries, that is the countries, where the freedom of speech is completely absent, after several criminal cases were started against journalists because of political reasons, and some journalists were persecuted by the tax inspection, “Freedom House” writes. The organization also points out that Ukrainian and Russian journalists, who investigate the corruption in their countries, are persecuted and sometimes undergo violence. The evaluation scale looks as follows: 0-30 points – “free” country, 31-60 – “partly free”, 61-100 – “not free”. The rating of Ukraine is 67 points. The commentary to the report reads that the state censors TV features, persecutes independent mass media and impedes their work, the crimes against journalists are not investigated properly. “Freedom House” declares that the freedom of speech in Ukraine is permanently diminishing because of the political pressure and state censorship. Article 34 of the Ukrainian Constitution and the law on printed mass media adopted in 1991 guarantee the freedom of speech, the report reads, but this right is not realized practically. According to the information of the European Institute of mass media, the state TV company popularized the ruling party during the last Parliament election. Although electronic and printed mass media in Ukraine are not owned by the state, the state controls main printing and distribution centers. The authors of the reports also refer to the report of the organization “Reporters without frontiers”, which states that ten journalists perished during recent four years under the suspicious circumstances and 41 journalists more seriously suffered from the attacks.