12 cases recorded in March of pressure on Ukrainian journalists


In March, the final month of the 2006 election campaign, the number of violations of journalists’ rights in Ukraine reached their most critical peak since the “Orange Revolution”.  This can be seen from the monitoring results of the “Barometer of freedom of speech” published on Thursday by the Institute of Mass Information.

The authors of the report however noted that despite the record number of violations, the situation in March had differed significantly from the 2004 Presidential elections. This time the violations had not been a systemic feature and had largely taken place in the regions.

Eleven civil suits against the mass media and journalists demonstrate the shortcomings of the new electoral legislation where it is concerned with regulating media activities.

Outside Ukraine, however, Ukrainian journalists had much more difficulty in their work. Four of them ended up imprisoned while attempting to cover the presidential elections in Belarus.  The “Barometer of freedom of speech” notes that over all, since the “Orange Revolution”, Ukrainian journalists have been detained or arrested not in Ukraine, but exclusively in countries of the CIS.  At the same time, within the country in March there were six cases of censorship and violence or intimidation of journalists.

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