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14.06.2007

Journalists and human rights defenders speak out against draconian accreditation rules in Kharkiv

   

The Independent Trade Union of Ukraine together with the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group and Kharkiv Press Club have issued a statement over the harsh accreditation rules imposed by the authorities in the Kharkiv region.

According to the statement, “accreditation with the local authorities and bodies of local self-government is turning from a system to improve access to information into a system for creating obstructions for journalists. Accreditation at present is either a form of concealed censorship, or a means of removing journalists who are not sufficiently loyal to the authorities. Any permit system contravenes the principles of free access to information”.

The statement cites examples of interference by the authorities in Kharkiv itself and in the region, with breaches of journalist ethics being given as possible grounds for revoking accreditation. It stresses that this is a matter for the commission on journalist ethics, not for the authorities.

Accreditation rules usually also limit the rights of freelance journalists.

The statement calls for the authorities to review the rules for accreditation and simplify procedure.

“We stress that mutual understanding between the media and the authorities can only improve coverage of the latter’s work”.

Press Service of the Media Trade Union

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