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08.04.2004

H. Severinsen is not satisfied with the application of the laws directed towards the improvement of the situation with the Ukrainian mass media

   

The application of the norms of the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws directed towards the practical improvement of the situation with the Ukrainian mass media is extremely unsatisfactory, stated deputy of the Danish Parliament Hanne Severinsen, a reporter of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Ukraine, in her appeal to the Institute of mass information and the Forum of journalists “Legal self-protection”, which was conducted yesterday in Kyiv.

According to IMI information, H. Severinsen pointed out that “the General Prosecutor’s office very rarely investigates the facts of exerting pressure on journalists”, and “it seems that it became a rule, when the matter concerns the journalists, who criticize the power, or the mass media, who publish the agitation for some politicians”. By the words of H. Severinsen, the illegal inspections are conducted in these mass media: tax, sanitary, fire, etc. Sometimes the mass media are forced to stop their activities or to change the editorial policy as a result of such inspections. “The censorship is prohibited, but the self-censorship continues to exist”, stated the PACE reporter and recommended to read the Human Rights Watch report “News: the haggling is possible” devoted to this topic.

H. Severinsen believes that there also exists the problem of the lack of transparency of the legislative system. “Why you are afraid of various checks? An innocent person must not be afraid of anything. Yet, the Ukrainian journalists are afraid, because the legislative system is non-transparent”, she remarked.

H. Severinsen pointed out that the Supreme Rada improved the level of realizing the obligations, which were taken by Ukraine when joining the Council of Europe. Yet, there are still many things that must be done, and the special attention must be paid to the development and application of the laws by the power organs.

H. Severinsen is sure that the discussion around “temniks”, which is lasting during the last half a year, evidences the deterioration of the situation, but, at the same time, this discussion is a positive feature showing that the journalists begin to comprehend the situation.

Hanne Severinsen wished good luck to the new professional union of journalists. “I hope that the journalists of Ukraine are aware of their responsibility in the consolidation of democracy. They represent the fourth power, so they play an important role in the development of the freedom and democracy in the country. Ukraine needs a great number of brave journalists, who will be able to describe objectively the coming Presidential election”, she said.

The PACE reporter reminded that the Council of Europe will discuss the situation in Ukraine at its September session, in particular, “the problem of media environment”.

H. Severinsen expressed the hope that the discussion would result in the continuation of the monitoring and they would “be able to scrutinize the periods before, during and after the election”.

11 June 2003, http://www.unian.net

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