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20.04.2010

Media experts don’t agree with Reporters without Borders statement

   

Reporters without Borders last week expressed concern over what they called an alarming deterioration in the press freedom situation since the presidential elections. Viktoria Syumar from the Institute for Mass Information believes it’s too early to draw conclusions

As reported, RWF was disturbed by reports of intimidation, an attack on a journalist, interference in the work of the media by the Security Service. They link this with Yanukovych’s election, however Viktoria Syumar is convinced that the problem is partly in how journalists view him linked with his attitude to freedom of speech in the past.  “When Viktor Fedorovych was Prime Minister in 2004 there was no freedom of speech. And now journalists have negative expectations. If he can prove the opposite and he is really ready to safeguard freedom of speech, then he will have to be active and speak of specific reforms, at least on the National Television Channel One.  At present the idea of public broadcasting has totally fizzled out.

There are dangers, but of a different sort

Ms Syumar is sure that there are dangers for freedom of speech however in her view RWB has concentrated on slightly the wrong aspects. More attention needs to be paid to the regime’s attempt to take control of all media institutions. The President of the Academy of Ukrainian Press believes that it is worth demanding systematic steps from the authorities on abolishing censorship, existing from the National Commission for the Protection of Public Morality and to see whether President Yanukovych initiates public broadcasting.

“They beat up journalists before and are continuing to do so now, they restricted access to information and this is continuing. We’ve been disillusioned with the regime since 2005. In general you won’t get freedom of speech from politicians and you need to consolidate public efforts to stand up for them”, he says. He works the new President against repeating the mistakes of his predecessor who only spoke about freedom of speech but did nothing for it.

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