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19.07.2010

Reporters without Borders in Ukraine

   

A delegation from “Reporters without Borders” has arrived in Ukraine for a fact-finding mission. They initially planned to meet with the management of the President’s Administration, however they had not been warned that they were presently on holiday.

Relations between Ukraine’s new leaders and the international organization got off to a bad start because of statements made during a joint press briefing given by Anna Hermann, Deputy Head of the President’s Administration and lawyer from “Reporters without Borders”, Jean Martin. Then the French media expert stated that he had seen reform in Ukraine, including in the area of freedom of speech.”

The words were a surprise to the management of “Reporters without Borders” which reported the next day that it had not authorized Martin to make any statements about freedom of speech in Ukraine.

Anna Herman soon afterwards officially invited representatives of the organization to Ukraine, however the timing proved unfortunately and apparently Ms Herman does not plan to break her holiday to meet with them.

“Radio Svoboda” was able to speak with the Head of the “Reporters without Borders” research programmes, Giles Lorde. He says that the delegation were unaware that they would not be able to meet with the authorities.  Apparently they have managed to establish that meetings could take place in August or September.

The delegation this time will meet with journalists and plan a roundtable with staff of regional publications. On Wednesday, Head of the European Office Elsa Vidal says, the delegation will give a press conference to sum up the results of their visit. 

They plan in particular to meet with members of the civic movement “Stop Censorship!”.

As reported, on 23 April “Reporters without Borders” addressed an open letter to the President in which they expressed surprise and concern.

“Your government’s behaviour towards the media conflicts with what you told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, namely that reinforcing democracy was an “absolute priority” and that “it is free, independent media that must ensure society’s unimpeded access to information.” We are puzzled by the difference between your statements and the recent conduct towards the media.” )

 

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