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13.03.2008

Kyiv calls on UN Co-Rapporteur to not pin the label of a racist state on Ukraine

   

Ambeyi Ligabo, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression has presented his report on a visit to Ukraine from 14 to 18 May. He stated on 12 March that journalists’ rights are still infringed, especially at regional level, and that the press sometimes promotes racist attitudes in society.

Mr Ligabo said that Ukraine had achieved noticeable progress in strengthening democracy and the development of civil society. He said however that there remained much needing to be done to ensure more independence for the mass media.

He expressed concern over cases where intolerance is promoted in the media and racially-based hatred. He recommended that in training journalists proper attention be given to professional ethics and the need to respect human rights.

He also said that among the most noticeable failings in the information realm in Ukraine were the dissemination of unprofessional publications and dependence on political and economic lobbying.

Mr Ligabo states in his report that many journalists and media representatives have been the victims of violence from armed individuals and informal groups, which some claim have links with certain bodies of State security. He also mentioned cases of pressure and intimidation from local authorities on journalists and their facing court suits.

He added that those responsible often escape punishment.

However Ukraine’s representative Volodymyr Vasylenko rejected a number of Mr Ligabo’s conclusions and called on him not to pin the label of a racist state on Ukraine

Mr Vasylenko said that after 2004 decisive measures had begun on banning censorship and creating all conditions for freedom of expression and press freedom.

He added that many of the Co-Rapporteur’s conclusions were justified and his recommendations would be taken into consideration by the government, and invited Mi Ligabo to work together with Ukrainian institutions in order to prepare a more balanced and adequate report.

From a press release at: http://www.un.org/russian/news/fullstorynews.asp?newsID=9288

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