Committee to protect journalists” believes that Ukraine is losing the achievements of the Orange Revolution in the area of press freedom.
As a result of the political battle after the parliamentary elections of 2006, signs have become more noticeable of a return to repressive tactics in the attitude to the mass media. According to figures from the Kyiv Institute of Mass Information, last year saw at least 32 cases of assault or threats against journalists, this being double the figure for the previous year.
The “Committee to protect journalists” is concerned over an increase in pressure on journalists, in particular in the regions, since the 2006 elections.
Their report says that even before the ink had dried on the “Universal Memorandum”, Prime Minister Yanukovych had begun consolidating his power, appointing a number of powerful representatives of the previous regime, and began moving on the path towards renewing post-Soviet norms of power. Last September representatives of the Party of the Regions tabled in the Verkhovna Rada a new draft law making defamation a criminal offence.
The authors of the “Committee to protect journalists” Report believe that the third place achieved in the parliamentary elections by “Nasha Ukraina” is a demonstration of the disillusionment of voters that President Yushchenko did not keep his promises to bring corrupt officials of the previous regime to justice.
In its annual report, the “Committee to protect journalists” also criticizes the Ukrainian judiciary for the atmosphere of secrecy around the case involving the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze.