EFJ Concerned about Reports of Censorship in Ukrainian Media
The European Federation of Journalists, the European group of the International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) on Tuesday expressed its concerns about recent developments in Ukrainian media towards censorship.
According to media reports, journalists from the major Ukrainian private TV channel "1+1" complained about pressures and censorship after they had been denied permission to cover important news which the authorities considered hostile on 6 May. Some TV programmes which carried criticism of the government were dropped. Journalists at another Channel, STB, also issued a statement which denounced cases of censorship.
"We have several clear cases of pressures on and censorship of journalists in major Ukrainian television channels, showing that the authorities in Ukraine are trying to reduce the freedom of speech with the complicity of the owners," declared EFJ President Arne König. "We are concerned by these developments which threaten to reverse major steps we saw in past years towards democracy, partly thanks to press freedom, whereas this recent trend constitutes a backlash for journalists rights and for human rights in general".
The EFJ also learned that during press conferences journalists are forced by politicians--both from the government and from the opposition- to ask questions which have been submitted in advance. Journalists who are reluctant to do so risk undermining their relations with the authorities. The IFJ affiliate in Ukraine, the Independant Media Trade Union, also points out that the number of investigative journalists active in media is dramatically decreasing.
"We call on the authorities as well as all media owners that support or initiate censorship to respect standards of press freedom, in particular their commitment to the European Convention of Human Rights, " added König.
The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in over 30 countries worldwide