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21.05.2008

Freedom of Speech Commission also dubious

   

The National Commission for the Affirmation of Freedom of Speech* is calling on the Prosecutor General to inform the public about the investigation into the Kalashnikov case.

The Commission has expressed concerned that the criminal investigation into the assault on journalists from an STB filming crew in July 2006 has, as reported here, been terminated.

The Commission’s statement, issued on 21 May, reads:

“Over recent times there have been a number of disturbing indications of infringements of journalists’ rights in Ukraine. A significant number of these involve obstruction of journalists in carrying out their legitimate professional duties. This in turn restricts the right of society to information which is one of the fundamental human rights and guarantees for the stable existence of civic society and democracy.

Among such cases of obstruction of journalists in their work was that involving the National Deputy Oleh Kalashnikov and journalists of TV STB on 12 July 2006. The Pechersky District Prosecutor’s Office initiated a criminal investigation into this incident under Article 171 of the Criminal Code – obstruction of the legitimate professional activities of journalists. On 10 April 2008 the Kyiv prosecutor’s office terminated the proceedings into the case “for lack of elements of a crime”. Back in July 2006 President Yushchenko stressed that he considered an incident in which a National Deputy had obstructed journalists to be unacceptable, and supported the solidarity shown by representatives of the mass media in reacting to the brutal case involving the assault of their colleagues near the Verkhovna Rada.

The National Commission for the Affirmation of Freedom of Speech and the Development of the Information Realm, under the auspices of the President, therefore deems it necessary to recommend that the Prosecutor General inform the public about the investigation into this case in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and international standards.

 

*  The full title is the National Commission for the Affirmation of Freedom of Speech and the Development of the Information Realm, under the auspices of the President,)

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