“Reporters without borders” 2007 Report: No good news
The report, made public in Berlin on Tuesday, says that 2007 was the worst year in the last decade in terms of freedom of speech.
Last year, they state, 86 journalists and 20 media assistants were killed while carrying out their work. Reporters without Borders warn that difficulties can be expected for journalists this year in those countries where elections are to take place: Pakistan, Iran, Zimbabwe and the Russian Federation.
With regard to Ukraine, the report reads that: “Political pressure on the media has decreased since President Viktor Yushchenko came to power in 2005 but polarisation of the press and society does not make it easy to take an independent editorial stand.”
It mentions the cancellation of the political talk show “Toloka” in March 2007 (cf. http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1174556616&w=Toloka and the links below), and a few other cases. It points to the continued lack of progress in the Gongadze case, and to the fact that the former Prosecutor General Mykhailo Potebenko who failed to respond to Gongadzes request for protection was honoured by President Yushchenko during the year (the protest over the awarding of this honour was reported here in detail).
Radio Svoboda [Radio Liberty] and the Internet publication Proua.com report Elsa Vidal, Head of the Unit for Europe and the Former Soviet Union, as saying that Ukraine could still not be called an example to follow. “Ukraine has not freed itself from political pressure, even if the situation has improved. Id say that the situation is a bit better than in Russia in 2007”.
We quote this, however it is not clear where the quote came from, and whether she gave details as to why it was only a “little” better. The whole report for Europe can be found here: http://www.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/rapport_en_europe.pdf
“Reporters without borders” point to problems with freedom of speech in the majority of post-Soviet countries. Elsa Vidal particularly noted Russia: “During 2007 in Russia we saw journalists arrested during opposition demonstrations, independent newspapers being closed and some journalists sent to psychiatric hospitals.” According to the organizations information, at least two journalists were placed in such hospitals for their critical texts.